What is a spot colour?
A spot colour is simply a solid colour. The spot colour ink is pre-mixed using a set of base colours to ensure consistency in colour reproduction.
What is spot colour printing?
Spot colour printing is where individual colours are printed using a screen plate or pad in a single pass. This is different to process printing, where CMYK inks are layered on four passes, one per colour, to create a vast spectrum of colour.
Although we use spot colour inks for our screen printing only, they can be used in litho printing.
What is the difference between spot colours and CMYK colours?
The main difference is in their use in the printing process. As mentioned, spot colours are pre-mixed inks that are applied in a single pass whereas CMYK inks are layered on four passes to mix the correct colour. This is due to CMYK inks being transparent so they interact with each other. Spot colour inks, however, are opaque and won’t interact.
Spot colours are used almost universally. The Pantone Matching System spot colours we use are used across Europe and the USA.
Also, when you are dealing with clients, you are both talking from the same colour system. If you have a Pantone book, you can show them an accurate representation of the colour before going to print too!
What are the benefits of spot colours?
Spot colours are typically used in screen printing. They provide an exact match and are therefore a great choice when you want perfect colour reproduction across different materials and substrates.
Where else are spot colours used?
Spot colours can be found in some interesting places! We use a Spot Varnish to create the glossy finish on our Spot UV Business Cards. You can see a pattern on bank notes when you place them under a UV light, these counterfeiting procedures use spot colours too.
Spot colour artwork setup
Setting up your artwork files for spot colours is easier than you might think. Keep your colour setting as CMYK and use the swatches available in the colour library within the colour palette. These are Pantone colours. Please note, we use Pantone coated colours.
The screenshots below show how you can access Pantone colours in Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.
Spot colours in Illustrator
Spot Colours in InDesign
For more advice on colours, contact an expert printer like Inspired Print Solutions.