Color Changing Inks

CTI provides a variety of color changing technologies to enhance a product or package. Color changing inks add a level of engagement, fun, and a multitude of benefits rarely seen in other packaging innovations. Sunlight activated inks encourage consumers to take a product outside and watch it come to life. Thermochromic inks alert consumers to when a product has reached an ideal temperature for consumption. reveal inks engage consumers in a whole new way by altering a message during consumption. 

For more information please contact us by email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or by phone at 719.592.1557


Using thermochromic color changing technology consumers can be alerted to when thier beverage is at the ideal serving temperature.

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Using sunlight activated color changing ink on trail mix encourages consumers to choose your packaging for their outdoor occasions. 

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Reveal inks allow for messaging to alter during consumption. This can be used to drive consumption habits in a unique never been seen before way.

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By using temperature activated color changing inks and plastics a consumer can be alerted to when something is too hot.

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Photochromic is one way to encourage consumers to engage with your product on social media. The surprise that comes from a photochromic feature encourages consumers to share their experience.

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Reveal technologies can be used to conceal a message from consumers and be be revealed only upon consumption. In this case reveal was used to encourage kids to go outside and play after enjoying a tasty juice box.

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Do you want to change the world?

We are looking for problem solvers, inventors, collaborators, optimists, and people who enjoy getting their hands dirty!

CTI is inventing at a rapid pace and we need people who want to put their fingerprints on changing the world. We improve lives by inventing chemistry that alerts, protects and surprises. We’ve figured out how to keep food safe, help kids learn, prevent counterfeiting, and even alert consumers to a beer or milk that isn’t chilled enough. CTI needs a high-performing team that includes chemists, inventors, manufacturing personnel, sales people and quality specialists.

We seek people who raise their hand and say, “I think I can make this better!” or “I have an idea. Let me work with the team to make it happen!”

Just some of our benefits are:

  • A comprehensive healthcare program with competitive rates
  • Life insurance and financial investment packages
  • Generous bonuses for outstanding performance for hourly and salaried employees
  • Competitive pay and paid time off
  • Engaging employee development programs
  • And much more!

CTI is a manufacturer based at the foot of Pikes Peak in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado, but does business all over the world with billion-dollar brands.

Come join us to create and execute tomorrow’s biggest ideas!


CTI inks are manufactured using good manufacturing practice (GMP) protocols for the manufacture of printing inks, and are approved for non-food-contact applications. CTI inks comply with the following requirements:
CTI inks are manufactured without the use of BPA, ITX, or benzophenone.
CTI holds the following US patents:
Patent Number
Patent Title
US 6,610,351
Raman-Active Taggants And Their Recognition
US 8,883,049
Small Scale Microencapsulated Pigments And Uses Thereof
US 8,921,264
Thermochromic Coloring Pad
US 9,085,192
Pressure Sensitive Coating For Image Forming
US 9,187,668
Photochromic Inks
US 9,175,175
Small Scale Microencapsulated Pigments And Uses Thereof
US 9,216,397
Stabilizing Additives For Thermochromic Pigments
US 9,345,270
Water-Activated Thermochromic Materials
US 9,399,716
Yellow Thermochromic Dyes, Inks Composition And Level Indicators
US 9,493,668
Reversible Thermochromic And Photochromic Ink Pens And Markers
Thermochromic Efficiency Indicator


Keep People Safe



Consumers are demanding improved food safety, especially at home! CTI invented special “return to fridge” alerts when a product has been left too long outside the refrigerator. (CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans – or 48 million people – get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.)


Remind consumers when they need to apply sunscreen. Consumers often forget to reapply their sunscreen when having a fun day at the beach, by using sun-activated inks, an “Alert” appears in the sun reminding the consumer to re-apply.


Sometimes “too cold” or “too hot” is bad. Dial in the perfect serving temperature and create a great experience for your consumers. Temperature-activated inks can alert consumers when a product is the perfect serving temperature either hot or cold.




CTI’s patented Ice Writer™ playmats and markers are a new invention that helps kids play, create and learn. The Ice Writer™ is placed in the freezer and then the “cold marker” activates color on the mat, mimicking the vibrant colors of a paint brush. The color is “erased” by rubbing it w/ a warm hand and the child is ready to start creating again.  Wonderful color.  Mess free. Reusable.  Fun.



Using interactive inks is a great way to get kids excited about a product. Whether it is glow-in-the-dark ink to celebrate the holidays, thermochromic ink that surprises them, or photochromic to get them outside to playing it a guarantee that kids are going to love the color-changing effect.  



Partner with CTI to create products that encourage kids to get outside, play and create.  CTI offers a line of sun-activated (photochromic) inks for clothing and other textile products.   


The artwork appears in seconds when the consumer steps outside and then disappears in a few minutes when returned indoors.  A great product for amusement parks, swim products and other promotional t-shirts.

Drive Social Media



CTI’s sun activated inks drive consumer interaction with on shelf products, encouraging customers to enage in outdoor activities while also linking products to Social Media sites.


Use “Reveal Inks” to share trivia or play games. As consumers drink the beverage the answers to trivia games are revealed. This allows for a group of people to interact with a product while enjoying the beverage.



Thermochromic inks are a great way to engage consumers in a sweepstakes. Using temperature activated inks the code is masked, but when filled with a hot beverage the thermo ink disappears making the QR code scanable. 

Prevent Fraud



Body-heat activated coatings - A low-cost solution to preventing fraud is to use body-heat activated inks. Use on product tags, important documents, identification, etc. When the ink is touched it will disappear proving the authenticity of the document.



photo tag - On highly sensitive items photo-tag can be used to prevent fraud. A unique scanner easily identifies if an item is authentic. The scanner uses lasers to detect the photo tag particles and if the particles are present the scanner will display a green check mark. If no particles are detected a red X will appear.

This is a new technology that is exclusive to CTI.

Ensure Cold



Guarantee your beverage is cold! CTI is the world’s largest supplier of thermochromic, temperature-sensitive inks.


Maybe the most well-known application of a cold indicator uses cold-activated inks to enhance their message of “Beer as Cold as the Rockies.” With the two temperature indicators, Coors Light drinkers know when their beer is the perfect temperature for refreshment.


Use CTI to help differentiate a brand in a competitive market. Temperature-sensitive inks are an excellent way to bring impact to important design elements on a package. By doing this it can make a product more memorable or fun for the consumer.


Tuaca uses cold-activated ink on their label to bring emphasis to the intricate artwork on their label. World famous tattoo artist Corey Miller created the artwork, and the cold-activated ink highlighted the message “Get Inked!”


Add appetite appeal and intrigue to your package using proprietary chemistry from CTI.


Coca-Cola used cold-activated inks to ensure cold on their summer-time 16oz. promotional can.

Drive Purchase



CTI can add value to your brand. CTI helps consumers understand how much energy is left in their batteries, confirm their pizza is hot and encourage kids to create art. The possibilities are endless. Use CTI’s Discovery and Innovation Incubator process to invent the right solution for you.


Duracell batteries use heat-activated inks to create the power-level indicator on their batteries. This value-added feature allows the consumer to know how much power is left in their battery.


CTI’s design team helps create the right promotional idea that will drive retail purchases, enhance displays and encourage impulse purchases. CTI conducts consumer research to help demonstrate how your brand can use technology to drive purchases.

Mountain Dew:

Mountain Dew used cold-activated inks to highlight the release of the major blockbuster hit, The Dark Knight Rises. The design featured the Batman symbol turning green when cold, enhancing the consumer’s experience.


Use CTI to create on-package demonstrations to show before and after use. Any product that solves a problem or makes something better is an excellent candidate. Once the consumer touches the package on the shelf, the potential for purchase increases dramatically.


For Halloween, Menchies introduced the ghosts and goblins cup. When the cup is warm, only the Menchies logo was visible, but as consumers filled the cup with yogurt, Halloween imagery appeared.   The consumer insight that drove this idea was that it encouraged consumers to add more yogurt to the cup so they could see all of cobwebs and bones.  A great tool to drive sales.



PHONE: 719.592.1557
FAX: 719.592.1455
ADDRESS: 1096 Elkton Dr. Suite 600
Colorado Springs, CO 80907

Ideas Powered by Chemistry

Customer Needs

CTI is focused on “Customer Needs Platforms” – CTI doesn’t think of its business in terms of “thermo- or photo-chromic inks,” but rather on developing solutions for targeted “needs platforms.” Instead of thinking, “What ink do we sell?” CTI focuses on, “What problem do we solve?”

CTI has dedicated innovation teams to find new ways to…


The first two moments of truth for a consumer are when they see a product on the shelf and then when they reach for it. CTI technology creates competitive advantages for "THE MOMENTS OF TRUTH."

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CTI got its start providing a “Rocky Mountain cold refreshment guarantee,” ensuring that when the mountains on a Coors Light can are blue, the beer is as cold as the Rockies. CTI now knows more about what consumers think about cold beverages than any other supplier.

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CTI wants to use the magic of chemistry to encourage kids to use their hands and imagination to learn and create.

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Today’s millennial generation stays connected through social media. CTI provides companies with technology to drive interaction and connection with their consumers.

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CTI is working diligently to ensure food and drug safety. Ask us how we can help you.

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CTI is working with government agencies and companies to authenticate documents, currency and brands.

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METAL DECO – CTI’s specialty chemistry works on cans or aluminum bottles, making CTI the world’s largest supplier of thermochromic (temperature-sensitive) inks.
Click to download our color charts for:  Thermochromics     Photochromics     Color Explosion

OFFSET PRINTING – CTI’s inks are used for document authentication, promotional pieces and direct printing.

Click to download our color chart for:  Thermochromics

UV SCREEN – CTI’s products work well for magazine inserts, including specialty packaging, and can be applied through a rotary unit or label press.
Click to download our color chart for:  Thermochromics

FLEXO/GRAVURE - CTI’s offerings work on cold-reveal labels, stickers, cereal boxes, receipt tape and assorted flexible packaging.
Click to download our color charts for:  Thermochromics    Color Explosion
Click to download our UV Flexo color charts for:  Thermochromics    Photochromics

SECURITY – CTI offers overt and covert security protection, from touch-sensitive documents (wherein colors change when touched) to covert security which uses CTI’s patented photo-tag security, including packaging, brands, building materials, currency and government documents.

TEXTILE – CTI provides sun-activated inks for clothing.
Click to download our color chart for:  Photochromics

PENS – CTI offers heat activated pens in five colors. The pens write in one color and then turn to another color when exposed to heat such as: breath, rubbing, hot window or blow dryer.

CTI Products

CTI is not “just an ink company” but an “innovator who helps grow and differentiate brands.” The key essence of CTI is its commitment to “Improving lives through chemistry that alerts, protects and surprises.”



This is new thermochromic metal decorating technology that is designed for high-speed can printing lines (2000 cans per minute). “High Velocity Ink” is the most powerful thermochromic can ink in the world. It runs efficiently with less waste and brighter colors.

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CTI developed new chemistry to ensure tabs, crowns and closures turn chilly colors when a beverage is ice cold and ready to drink.

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Reveal inks are a new technology that can hide a message intended for the customer to read DURING/AFTER consumption. This is great for social media, engaging consumers, and entering sweepstakes.

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Another breakthrough from CTI is the invention of photochromic inks for cans. These cans change from clear to the selected color (multiple colors are available). The ink changes when exposed to sunlight and then changes back to original clear when removed from sunlight (takes a few minutes).

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Become the night’s most refreshing beverage by adding glow-in-the-dark or black light symbols or messaging to your package.

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CTI is working with government agencies and companies to authenticate documents, currency and brands.

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CTI Magic Minds Pens are an exciting new and fun technology that helps kids learn and awaken their creativity. When heat is added to a drawing the colors change magically.

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Color Explosion is CTI’s latest thermochromic invention. It is an expansion of new colors targeted to many of the different customer driven needs such as: communicating cold refreshment, flavor enhancement, and engaging kids.

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Lyle Small, a Cornell University chemistry student, founded Chromatic Technologies, Inc. (CTI) in his dorm room in 1993, building ink molecules, trying to find different stimuli to turn inks “on and off” – also known as “smart inks.”

Today, CTI is located in Colorado Springs, CO, helping customers across the globe and industries. Its innovation is fueled by Ph.D. chemists, artists, inventors and consumer researchers all working together to invent “Ideas Powered by Chemistry.”

CTI is “not just an ink company” but an “innovator who helps grow and differentiate brands.”

The key essence that differentiates CTI is its focus on “Improving lives through chemistry that alerts, protects and surprises.”

DISCOVERY – It all starts with listening and understanding the customer and their consumer. Before CTI starts any work or sells any idea, it spends time understanding customer needs. The purpose is to solve real problems by asking good questions.

PROPRIETARY CHEMISTRY – CTI’s Ph.D.‘s innovate EXCLUSIVELY on creating and perfecting chemistry that alerts, protects and surprises. Much of our technology is unique to CTI.

COMMERCIAL LEADERSHIP – CTI sales and marketing teams are led by former Fortune 500 consumer products and innovation leaders. The team brings real-life, consumer perspective to customers.

DESIGN TEAM – CTI’s in-house design team is focused on bringing ideas to clients rather than just technology. The creative team provides customers with elegant designs and ready-to-execute ideas to speed implementation.

INSIGHT - If a customer wants a big idea, it starts with a terrific insight. CTI is committed itself to knowing more than anyone about consumer needs and opportunities in the area of sensing, alerting and surprising through chemistry, inks and coatings. CTI is constantly conducting consumer research.

TECHNICAL SUPPORT – Ph.D. chemists are available to solve tough technical problems to help create competitive advantages for select customers.

INNOVATION INCUBATOR – Ideas are another form of currency inside an organization. A powerful pipeline of ideas predicts future profits. CTI’s Innovation Incubator offers customers a proprietary talent pool of inventors, chemists, artists and consumer researches to invent solutions for select customers.

CATEGORY EXCLUSIVITY – CTI seeks first-mover partnerships in categories and will provide category exclusivity for select clients.

CTI (Chromatic Technologies) is dedicated to improving lives through chemistry that alerts, protects and surprises. We seek to use that core competency to help companies innovate to grow and differentiate their brands.

CTI is best known as a specialty ink innovator for cans. In addition to being the world’s largest manufacturer of thermochromic inks, CTI chemistry also powers photochromic, black light, glow-in-the dark, reveal inks (reveals message after consumption), social media activation, security protection and hybrid thermo/photochromic solutions.

Our innovation teams are coming up with tomorrow’s big ideas for packaging, helping kids learn, stopping counterfeiting, keeping people safe and driving purchase at retail. The “Futurescape Team” is also inventing new methods for bacteria detection and cancer treatment.

Contact us if you’re interested in applying for a custom innovation incubator, [email protected]