van glo fluorescent ink

i currently am printing with van son rubber based inks but want to try some of the fluorescent inks that van son makes (van glo series).

this series on their website doesn’t say it’s specifically for letterpress printing, so just wanted to see if anybody has used this ink on their presses…or if there are any other sources for neon inks.


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because you are laying down such a thin film of ink double inking and even triple inking or even double hits will never get you close to the color sample. these inks work best with white smooth stock or an under printing of opaque white which will help. it is difficult enough with a large offset press with a 30 roller ink train to print fluorescent inks. good luck.

I’ve printed (letterpress, of course) with fluorescent inks from Van Son and other manufacturers and never had any problems. Chuck is right that a thicker ink film usually looks better than thin, but I disagree on difficulty of doing that with a letterpress. Offset presses, even the big ones, all split the ink film twice between plate and paper, while the letterpress process only splits it once, so normally letterpress will put down a thicker layer of ink than offset — and that’s exactly what you want for the fluorescent ink to “pop” (except maybe 801 Blue which seems to “glow” more with a bit thinner ink film).

Older Pantone guides had a second page of “2x” or “+” fluorescent colors showing the same colors with a thicker ink film, and those samples are pretty darn close to what I typically get when printing fluorescents with my little 2-roller letterpress Multigraph using handset type, printing on white gloss coated stock, for ink tube labels. Admittedly, the same colors aren’t nearly as impressive printed on the grey-brown chipboard box ends!

And, for those who don’t wish to pay $115 for a kilo of Van Son fluorescent ink, I do normally stock all the basic fluorescent colors in my “quarter pound” (5 oz.) tubes for $20 per tube; for a color list e-mail me at “Ink (at)”.

Dave (the Ink in Tubes guy)