What is Akuafoil and how do I set it up?

Small Format Printing

With Akuafoil, you can turn a wide range of CMYK colors into multi-colored foils. Akuafoil uses a special processed foil system that is applied under a 4/c process to create an array of foil colors. It's simple, affordable, and makes your prints stand out from the crowd.

For an Akuafoil job, you must include an Akuafoil mask file along with your CMYK file. The mask file indicates where the Akuafoil will be applied. The file setup is the same as Spot UV. Use 100% K where Akuafoil needs to be applied and white where the Akuafoil is not applied.

Akuafoil Setup

As shown above, the file on the left is the normal CMYK print file. If you want the logo to be Akuafoil, then your Akuafoil mask file should look like the file on the right. The white indicates no Akuafoil and black 100% K indicates where the Akuafoil will be applied. When uploading, please remember to upload separate files.

Here are some more things to keep in mind when creating your Akuafoil artwork:

Make sure the mask and CMYK print file are aligned. They should match exactly in size and position.

  • Akuafoil works best on lighter colors. The darker the CMYK color, the less vibrant the Akuafoil effect.
  • Do not use very thin or small text and artwork with Akuafoil. Use San Serif fonts above 12 point for best results.
    • If you have Akuafoil applied to a white area, it will have a plain silver Akuafoil look.
    • For better quality we recommend creating mask files in vector based programs such as Illustrator or CorelDRAW.


If you would like plain silver Akuafoil to print, make sure to have at least 15% K in the CMYK print file area in order to obtain the highest quality silver Akuafoil effect.

Silver Akuafoil Setup Example

When creating knockouts in the Akuafoil mask or in the CMYK print file, please be aware that there might be a "Halo" of white around the knockout area. Below are two examples: On the left, a file with a CMYK magenta background and a knockout for the Akuafoil text. On the right, an Akuafoil background with a knockout for the CMYK text.

CMYK KNOCKOUT W/AKUAFOIL FILL

CMYK print File CMYK KNOCKOUT W/AKUAFOIL FILL

AKUAFOIL KNOCKOUT W/CMYK FILL

CMYK print File 
AKUAFOIL KNOCKOUT W/CMYK FILL

Akuafoil File Akuafoil File

Akuafoil File Akuafoil File

These are the printed results:

CMYK KNOCKOUT W/AKUAFOIL FILL

CMYK KNOCKOUT W/AKUAFOIL FILL

AKUAFOIL KNOCKOUT W/CMYK FILL

AKUAFOIL KNOCKOUT W/CMYK FILL

You can see the white "Halo" in-between the CMYK ink and the Akuafoil. To prevent this, grow/stroke the Akuafoil area in the mask by 1 point. This will allow the Akuafoil to bleed into the CMYK area, reducing the white "Halo" effect. You can also fill in the knockout with a color to reduce the effect further.

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