Ink Leaders: Chromatic Technologies Inc.

If you already know a bit about innovative inks like thermochromic, photochromic, hydrochromic or even glow in the dark ink, then you probably have already heard of Chromatic Technologies Inc. CTI, based out of Colorado Springs, is one of the leaders in “innovative ink”– inks that change under specific conditions, like temperature.

Lyle Small, the founder of CTI, started the company just before graduating from Cornell University. Small spent many of his university days experimenting with temperature sensitive inks and discovered a niche market for innovative ink technology. CTI got its first big break designing and producing a commemorative CD/DVD for Nirvana. Once released, the innovative packaging and design brought worldwide attention to CTI and their capabilities. Today, CTI has a global distribution network.

David Randall, CTI’s Senior Sales Consultant, graciously took time out of his busy schedule to answer some of our questions about thermochromic inks and their applications. This interview has helped us further our understanding of how thermochromic ink can benefit other companies in search of innovative packaging ideas.

CTI specializes in various kinds of thermochromic printing technologies, including:

  • Metal Deco, typically used for printing on cans
  • Offset, used in document authentication or promotional pieces
  • UV Screen, used for magazine inserts or specialty CD/DVD cases
  • Flexography and Gravure, used in reveal labels and stickers
  • Mug Spray, a spray-on ink used on plates, mugs, or glassware

The first thermochromic ink products began showing up about 15 years ago, and their presence has grown ever since. “[Initially] the technology was used on textiles (hypercolor), and then made its way into printing ink initially as a security feature (company checks, Doctor’s RX pads, company receipts) and then into consumer packaging and products,” says Randall. The ink has proven itself as an effective option in creating innovative packaging and products, “we feel we are working with only a small percentage of groups that should be considering this to enhance their branding messages,” says Randall.

Large corporations such as Pizza Hut, Coors Light, Tuaca Liqueur, and HiBall Energy Beverages have already used CTI to help improve their packaging (and sales) by incorporating thermochromic inks into their designs. “The value this technology can bring to a brand is the ability to help tell a story. In the instance of Coors, their brand wants to communicate cold and this technology is a hands on way of helping to drive home that message,” Randall explains. “The color-change ink can help highlight any of these brand messages by drawing attention to the message and the package. Since Coors adopted the cold-message using the thermochromic inks and their various packaging innovations to support this message, they have been the fastest growing mainstream beer in the US”.

We are certain CTI will continue to grow as more and more companies opt to use innovative inks in their packaging and products. Our many thanks go to David Randall for patiently answering all of our questions. To hear more of our conversation with David about thermochromic inks, please watch our webinar in early 2013. Stay tuned for details!

To learn more about CTI and their products, please visit their website at:


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