Traditional printing presses normally mix percentages of colours on 4 separate plates called CMYK (we’ve previously written a blog post about these) to arrive at the final colour. For most jobs, they are sufficient to produce enough accuracy in the final materials. However, where specific colours are a necessity, we suggest using a spot (or match) colour.
A spot colour is simply a specific ink that is premixed to a recipe, and that can be used either alone or in conjunction with other spot colours or CMYK inks. The print industry standard for pre-mixed inks is the Pantone Matching System (PMS) and there are over 1100 colours to choose from, including metallics like gold and bronze. Another use for spot inks is for adding special effects like UV varnishes or fluorescents.
How does this affect me?
Spot colours give you greater accuracy if specific colours are a must. Please bear in mind, however, that the addition of each spot colour may increase the overall cost of your job. Most clients limit spots to 2 or 3 colours, which are usually enough to accurately portray their company’s identity.
What can I do in future?
If you want to use spot inks for any reason, or have specific Pantone numbers from a previous job, it’s always a good idea to chat through how it will look and how other factors such as paper stock, matt or gloss lamination etc will affect it. We’re always happy to give our thoughts if you’d like to get in touch.