Thermochromic ink is a unique special effect in that it “reveals” something underneath when touched by hand or otherwise heated. It’s a hot (no pun intended) idea getting a lot of attention by those looking for creativity and innovation in design and printing. While the possibilities are endless, it can help maximize the return on investment (ROI) of your print spend for retail packaging, POP displays, gift cards, book jackets, greeting cards, direct mail, and more.
Here’s an example of thermochromic printing and how, when the promotional piece is heat activated (by hand in this example), what is printed underneath is revealed.
What Is Thermochromic Printing?
While many think that thermochromic coatings change color, they can instead change from a solid color to clear to reveal a printed message underneath.
However, in some cases like going from cold to hot, it’s possible to formulate an opaque dark color thermochromic coating (cold stage) to change with increased transparency into a lighter shade color hue (when heat activated). We demonstrated this recently by having the thermochromic coating printed on a shower curtain change from dark purple into light pink.
It’s also possible for thermochromic ink to change in the reverse: from clear or lite color in ambient temperatures into a darker color when cold. This is how you see the blue outline of mountains on Coors beer cans as they get colder.
2 Types of Thermochromic Ink
The two primary types of thermochromic ink coatings are liquid crystals and leuco dyes.
The most famous application ever, the Mood Ring of the 1970s, was a liquid crystal. Thermochromic coatings are ideal for use on consumer packaging, product labels, security printing, advertising, and business cards.
Most often, we find our clients engage us to apply the thermochromic coating in a solid color that disappears when exposed to temperature change, revealing the image underneath.
Thermochromic Samples & Customization
Contact us to learn how thermochromic printing can be used to maximize the ROI of your print spend by increasing consumer engagement and being Anything but Ordinary.