The Printing Press Blog

Deadfronting 101: Part 2

Deadfronting is a particular screen printing technique that results in images blending into a background or overlay, hidden from a viewer's perspective until they are backlit or illuminated. The first half of this blog series discusses the technique, while the following delves into the industries in which deadfronting is commonly used.


As discussed previously, deadfronted icons can appear on the dashboard of your vehicle. Their purpose is to alert the driver to any malfunctions the vehicle is experiencing. If there is a specific issue with the vehicle, the corresponding warning icon will light. This helps to ensure the driver remains safe and the vehicle is in peak operating condition.

Health care machine deadlfrontingHealth Care 

In health care, there are thousands of different machines used to provide care to patients. Because each of these machines has several different incorporated functions, they often have deadfronted graphics. Of course, that means that there are several different icons found on the machine, and each icon stands to alert the end user of something different. However, unless these icons become illuminated or backlit, the user should assume that everything is functioning as it should. 


Appliance deadfrontingBelieve it or not, deadfronting technology can also be found in many of your household appliances. This is because appliances have icons that can serve as a feedback mechanism for the end user. Examples of appliances that utilize deadfronted graphics could be your dishwasher, refrigerator, or even something as small as your coffee maker. The truth is, deadfronting technology can be incorporated into just about any and every appliance found within your house. 
Take for instance a household’s refrigerator. You may have a capacitive touch interface incorporated into the front of your fridge where you can dispense water and ice. However, you’ll notice those icons are dead from the front view, or not easily visible. Each function has an indicator LED. To hide these LEDs, the icons’ LED windows are deadfronted. Only after clicking the desired function will the corresponding LEDs light up. 

Deadfronting is extremely beneficial in your User Interface design because the design helps to promote functionality of your product.

Interested in networking to learn more on similar topics? Join PRINTING United Alliance's Industrial Applications and Printed Electronics Committee on Sept. 30 to take a deep dive into this industry.

Jaclyn King is a digital marketing specialist at Butler Technologies. Butler Technologies is a printed electronics solution provider that develops User Interface and Printed Electronics.