Blue Ink Never Dries

Why Blue ink never dries!

Mini Sponges

Did you ever question why printers wince at the mention of dark blue ink? The reason is Reflex Blue. Reflex Blue is one of the 14 Pantone mixing inks that are used to build all other Pantone colors. It gets its rich color from a family of pigments referred to as Alkali Blue pigments, which includes the mineral cobalt.  These minerals are very strong in color and give Reflex Blue its rich deep hue. But like most other alkaline minerals, they are very porous, even at the granular level, which makes Reflex Blue act like little mini sponges.

Blue Ink on Paper

Once ink is transferred onto paper, it’s very wet and easily smudged. Before it can be handled or even printed on the second side, the ink needs time to dry. Generally lighter colors dry quickly and dark colors take longer and then there is Reflex Blue. Depending on the surface of the stock and the amount of ink coverage, some experts say Reflex Blue or colors with a high percentage of Reflex Blue in the formula, NEVER really dry. For example, PMS 286 is made of 25% Process Blue and 75% Reflex Blue. As a result of the high percentage of Reflex Blue, it will take much longer to dry than a PMS color with little or no Reflex Blue.

Design Stage

It’s important to remember this fact during the design and planning stage of a project. A coating or varnish may help with the drying process. Most important, please allow additional production time for the ink to dry when using Reflex Blue.