Vinyl Offset

Manifests as: transfer of electrophotographic toner to vinyl
Primarily caused by: plasticizer in vinyl

Vinyl offset occurs when the printed surface of an electrophotographic print is transferred to an adjacent, vinyl (PVC) surface. This is a serious issue for two reasons: 1) Vinyl offset is a common occurrence, as many commonly used office supplies such as three-ring binders and clear plastic page protectors are made with vinyl sheeting; 2) Vinyl offset occurs even under recommended storage conditions. Therefore it is critical that prints and documents made using electrophotographic/toner technology not be stored in contact with vinyl enclosures.

Vinyl offset occurs slowly over time as the plasticizer within the vinyl migrates to the plastic’s surface. The plasticizer can then soften and bond to the electrophotographic toners on the adjacent print. This can happen with black-and-white images and text as well as color electrophotographic prints. Vinyl offset differs from inkjet ink transfer in that the latter is induced by high humidity. Unlike vinyl offset, as long as the humidity is kept low, inkjet ink transfer can be averted.

In the illustration below, the image of the car on the plastic sheeting is toner that has been offset from the original paper copy.

Offset of black toner from printed paper to plastic
Offset of black toner from printed paper to plastic

In the following image, the color toner has offset to an adjacent vinyl enclosure.

Original image
Original Image

Yellow toner offset to vinyl binder
Yellow Toner Offset to Vinyl Binder

The image below shows how vinyl transfer also affects text-based documents.

Plastic sleeve moved slightly to show offset
Plastic sleeve moved slightly to show offset