Spot Color Printing Knowledge
Spot Color

The colors used on spot color proofs are also known as "matched" colors, special colors, or by one of the brand names "Pantone" or "PMS" colors. Spot colors are printed from a single ink on a separate printing unit of the press. Spot colors can be standard, pastel, fluorescent or metallic colors. Several colors can be printed in select areas to create two, three or more color jobs. Spot colors can be used on may types of jobs, such as business cards, letterheads, forms, brochures and direct mail pieces.

There are several variables involved with spot colors. A few manufacturers create color guides such as binders, chips, and fan books to show the spot colors and the equivalent process colors. It is important to realize that the color guides fade over time and the paper may change colors so check the date of your guide and replace it periodically.

When you choose the spot color on the monitor, remember that it is simulated in RGB, and not as the spot color or CMYK. Be sure to tear off a chip from the guide and include it with the job.

Remember that if you are trying to match a spot color with process colors, very few colors will match. Many spot colors are outside of the color gamut of process inks. The paper stock that is used for the job will also provide different results than expected. The use of varnishes or coatings can also change the appearance of the color.

 


 

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