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“Are you printing that with a spot or is it in process?”

This is by far one of the most frequently asked questions we hear from printing companies when submitting design work to be printed. Today, we’re going with Spot Colour!

Unlike process colour printing, which use various percentages of cyan, magenta, yellow and black plates (4 colour CMYK process) to produce different colours, shades and hues during the print process, spot colours or “solids” are premixed inks that are printed using a single plate. It may be a colour that cannot be achieved in the CMYK, such as opaque white, metallic blue or neon pink. A spot colour may also be achievable within the CMYK but is used instead of the CMYK as it gives an image a better appearance.

If you’ve ever painted with watercolours, you’ll know how challenging it is to mix blue and red the exact shade of purple every time. Or yellow and red for the same shade of orange. The same applies to printing with process colours. Companies that use a specific colour as part of their corporate design may find slight colour deviations on their artwork. For this reason, spot colour is invaluable to corporate branding. It ensures perfect colour reproduction across different materials and substrates. Colour is always accurate and consistent; never lighter or darker. This is especially critical in large print runs. The last thing any business owner wants is a large print that unintentionally changes shade halfway through. Logos are often created with spot colours as they maintain colour integrity no matter who the print vendor is. This consistency is essential to brand identity as it is how customers identify a company’s products and services.

There are times when ordinary flat colours don’t quite cut it for brands that want a luxurious appearance. A metallic spot colour, for instance, can add an element of glamour and sophistication, making printed products more eye-catching and desirable, which the regular printing process can’t get anywhere near. With spot colour printing, you could add a top layer of Spot UV varnish to your prints. If prints are to be handled in any way, this layer will keep the colours looking fresh and vibrant. That makes it perfect for use on business cards, catalogues, presentation documents and more.

Additionally, Spot Colour can be removed by a printer without affecting any design elements on your artwork that use that same colour in the CMYK. For instance, if 100% process colour magenta is used, and this colour needs to be removed from only a “specific area” on artwork, a printer will remove magenta from every colour on your artwork that includes magenta, ultimately affecting your design. However, if spot magenta is used, and that “area” of the design needs to be removed by the printer, it will do so without impacting any other colour that includes magenta.

Spot colour may also keep printing costs down. Every colour plate used during a print run costs money, and if budget is a real concern, you want to keep costs as low as possible. When a project’s design has only one, two, or three colours, it makes sense to use spot colour as fewer plates are used than the standard four in CMYK.

If you’d like to learn more about spot colour for your business logo, product and packaging designs, get in touch with us. We’ll be more than happy to create the perfect spot colours for your brand that hits the spot perfectly.

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