Dead Front Display

The term dead fronting is used to describe an icon that is typically hidden from view but is visible under certain circumstances. Take a car dashboard, for instance. There are several icons on the dashboard that drivers don’t see all the time, such as the “check engine” light, gas light, or tire pressure. However, if a problem arises, the icon lights up and appears to the user. This is called a dead front icon.

As a leading manufacturer of graphic overlays, JN White® provides our customers with unparalleled dead fronting products through state-of-the-art technology. Our digital printing capabilities are some of the best in the industry, meaning that we can satisfy our customers’ toughest demands.

Dead Front Panels

Dead Front Paneling with JN White®

When customers come to us with dead fronting projects, they are usually looking for two requirements:

  1. They want their icons to be as dead-fronted as possible. They should be near-invisible when not activated.
  2. When backlight, the icons should be as evenly lit as possible with no shadows due to trapped or bleeding color.

Our unique blend of industry expertise, dead front and graphic overlay experience, and sophisticated printing technology keep our customers coming back for repeat projects.

JN White’s® Unique Dead Fronting Capabilities

One to One Registration of Color

Color that appears in a backlit dead front panel commonly comes from the color within the graphic overlay itself, not the light behind it. The dead front icon must be transparent and allow light to shine through, therefore illuminating the icon, while the surrounding overlay must remain opaque and undisturbed by the backlight.

With screen printing, it’s standard that the transparent and opaque inks overlap, causing a shadow around the border of the dead front icon when backlit. However, our digital printing capabilities allow us to do 1:1  registration of color. This means that we can bring the dead front color right up to the background with no overlap or shadowing.

Our digital printer, the HP 5600 Indigo, uses a technology called “One Shot,” which allows for perfect color to color registration with no overlap in backlight  images and symbols in dead front panels.

Black or White Panel Backgrounds

Hiding icons in a black panel is fairly simple, but it’s much more difficult to hide icons within a white panel. Not only are we able to dead front graphics on a black background, but our team has also perfected dead fronting onto a white background. For products using a white overlay, we use translucent ink and a colored backlight, which creates a crisp and readable finish on a white background.

Hybrid Digital and Screen Printing Process

For nearly every dead front panel project we do, we use a hybrid process of digital and screen printing techniques, which allows us to precisely layer colors into the overlay. The panel starts with digitally printed base colors and is then layered with translucent or opaque screen-printed pigment.

At the onset of our digital journey we worked with our ink vendor to create our own line of ink that works perfectly within this unique hybrid process. As a result we are  one of the few partners who utilize the benefits of both digital and screen printing for full production quantity parts.

Request a Sample Pack

We know that you might want to feel and interact with our work before committing to a project with us, which is why we’ve put together a variety of samples to send to you, free of charge.

Ask Ken

Sign up for tips from our interface guru, Ken Boss.

Fill out this short form and we’ll send you occasional and useful interface tips.

See What Our Customers Are Saying

"Very pleased with your team's response to our need during the COVID-19 crisis."
Lisa L., Medical Device
"JN White has been exceptional in working with our company in order to develop the look and feel of our new MRI patient worn transmitter. We had originally worked with a prior manufacturer for an earlier version of this product with much less desirable results. JN White delivered a clean professional product at a very reasonable price on time!"
Gary P., Medical
"We had very little information to work with and Jessica James made it nearly effortless on our end to get us exactly what we needed in a timely manner."
Lexi W., Industrial Equipment
"Getting any after-market graphic overlays done always has a certain risk factor in getting it all right. You guys were helpful, patient, & knowledgeable to achieve the best end result. Even pointing out some things that might be [an] oversight or [areas for] improvements. The outcome was perfect."
John S., Technology
"The print task was between the USA and Australia and everything went so smooth. I submitted a drawing, got a return email for me to confirm what I wanted. Even though this was over the Christmas period the print was waiting for me when I got back to work after the holidays. Great job and thanks."
Matt C., Military
"All of the folks there at JN White that I have talked to and dealt with have been very nice and professional."
Vern L., Industrial
"Customer service is wonderful. Receive confirmations and responses in a timely manner. Product has great quality."
Sara H., Medical
"It has been a pleasure working with JN White. We switched suppliers for some of our products to your company and you have given us higher quality. Excellent work!"
Roger W., Education
"I feel confident that JN White will do my order correctly."
Marie P., Government
"I found working with Sara to be a pleasant experience. We were trying to dial in the color to get just the right look on the printed substrate...Sara sent us a sample print sheet that had several variations, up and down, from the colors we specified, which allowed me to pick exactly the color we wanted. The end result product is perfect!"
Don M., Safety
"Our department has used JN White for a number of years for our inspection labels. They always respond very quickly when we contact them to place an order and communication is great with any questions we have. Highly recommend them."
Jim R., Government
"Easy process and great people to work with."
Richard Z., Military
"I'm very satisfied with your service. Always looking forward to bring the best!"
Ramses Z., Medical Devices
"JN White is very responsive to their customers. Product is delivered as expected...and they provide quality products. They have a clear understanding of the obstacles facing US based customers regarding the entire supply chain."
Bob M., Point of Sale
"We always deal with Steve Matacz. He is the best at making sure all details are perfect. Timely communication with any questions we have."
Paul A., Recreational
"Customer response time is one of the best; always prompt and helpful. On-time performance the last 12 months is 100%."
RoseMarie C., Utilities
"Customer service, quality and lead time are great! No complaints."
Sara H., Medical Devices

JN White is an ISO 9001:2015 and ITAR-certified manufacturer of membrane switches, graphic overlays, and custom labels. All of our products are Made In The U.S.A. We specialize in the design and manufacture of complex graphic overlays, complex membrane switch keyboards, assembly and membrane switch testing. Our supporting products and services include: rapid prototyping; electronic shielding (ESD); backlighting (including addressable LEDs); design & development; vendor managed inventory (VMI); and medical device, UDI and UL label constructions. JN White works with global brands in the aerospace, medical device, medical instruments, industrial electronics, consumer appliance and defense (or military/DoD) industries. Made in America. Made in the U.S.