Posted on September 7, 2021 by Dennis Salazar

White Ink on Kraft Custom Printed Boxes

Salazar Packaging – the originator of white ink on brown boxes?

There it is again. I am watching TV and a commercial for a pet food company comes on. Sure enough, they are using brown (kraft) boxes and printing their copy with white ink. I am not sure we can claim inventing white on kraft DTC, e-commerce boxes, however I am certain we helped in the development and popularity of that once uncommon color combination.

You can’t print brown boxes with white ink! 

At least that is what some of our competitors were telling their customers 10 years ago. The request came in often enough that we decided to work with one of our key design partners and develop an ink that looks great on almost any variation of brown board or white target density for our customers.

Kraft board variations

White ink print on shipper box and inserts by Salazar PackagingIf you take a close look at any kraft (brown) boxes, you will see that no two are identical. Board color varies, some are brown, others are closer to tan, and some even have a yellow tint. This color inconsistency is even more pronounced on boxes made with high recycled content board.  A different but related difference you see is not only color, but also relative light or darkness of the corrugated board substrate. These will certainly impact the results when they are printed with any light ink color, especially white.

Another major difference you really can’t see is board porosity. That is usually a result of how much moisture the board is holding and the atmospheric conditions in the warehouse and plant where the job is running. This determines whether the ink will sit on top or get quickly absorbed into the board. That can produce a very thin or a very heavy coat of white ink and therefore the color density.

White ink intensity level

White intensity is how dense the white ink is and how “solid” or thick it looks. We ask our customers their preference and usually provide samples for them to review. Some people want a heavy coat of white that is almost opaque. The first related post below tells you the only way we can accomplish that. Other customers want a light or thin white for more of a whitewash, almost transparent white.

As we always say, direct printing on corrugated is an imperfect process, on an imperfect substrate. However, with the incredible amount of experience we have gained over the years, we probably do it better than just about anyone else in the business because we understand the various inconsistencies and how we can best control them to get the results our clients and customers want.

Any color, any way you want it

If we can handle white ink on Kraft, we can probably do any color/board combination you and your graphic artists may have in mind. After making millions of custom e-commerce, DTC boxes per year for the last fourteen years, we are very capable and confident. Tell us what type of look you want to create, and one of our branded packaging advisors will be glad to help you. Call us at 630-551-1700 or contact us through this web site. Prepare to be dazzled!


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