When to use Spot Color in Printing

Printing with spot color you will have a smaller color range, but brighter and more vibrant results. For the majority of color print projects you will use either spot colors or process colors like CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key). There are many different factors that will play a part in your decision on the process: budget, printing method, and specific design elements used in the layout. In some situations, both process colors and spot colors are called for in the same job.

When printing in single spot colors, a single color ink is added to the roller of the printing press. If one color is to be printed – there will be just one plate and one run of the press. If there are two colors – there will be two plates and two runs, etc. Colors are layered one by one onto the paper, until completed.

Spot colors do tend to shine in some instances. Here are some examples of when you would choose to use spot color in printing:

– If you only use one or two colors (which includes one spot color plus black) and do not use full color photographs.

– If you print one particular color over multiple pages that requires a color consistency from page to page.  Such as a booklet or a catalog where you would need a block of color to be consistent from page to page.

– If you would precise color matching of a business logo that cannot be reproduced with CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key) inks.

– Spot printing is great for jobs that require no full color imagery such as business cards and other stationary.

– Easy to print in monotone or duotone, etc. literature such as black and white newspaper.

– If you were looking to print over a large area, perhaps a poster. Spot color helps to provide a smooth coverage of large areas, helps to provide consistency and saturation.

– Spot printing is perfect if your project requires special effects such as metallic or fluorescent spot inks.

– If you are needing more vibrant colors or exact matching than what CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key) inks can produce – such as navy blue or bright orange.

Because of the complicated process, spot colors are effective at preventing forgeries of important documents such as money, passports, stocks, etc. Money printing is very precise, and uses a secret formula of spot colors – in which some can only be detected by applying a chemical or special light source.

As you can see, depending on the type of printing project you have spot printing can be very beneficial and the best option for the job.