Spot Colour Printing - What is spot colour printing?
A method of multi-colour printing; this process uses spot colours that are printed in a single run. A spot colour is an ink that has been pre-mixed to the exact colour that is required. As the precise colour has already been made, it can be applied in a single run; process colours require multiple runs to layer two or more colours to produce the required colour. In spot printing, each colour must have its own ink pre-mixed before an image can be printed.
Each discrete colour that is created in a spot colour system is allocated its own reference code, in order to both identify a colour before printing it and to provide a means of specifying a colour while creating a design that is to be printed. There are a number of industry standards used to classify these different colours; the Pantone Matching System is the most dominant standard used in the US and Europe.
Spot colour printing has an almost unlimited number of colours that can be produced and inks can be created with a greater opacity than process colours (which need to be translucent so that they can be layered to produce the required colour). It can also be used to produce special finishes by applying special inks such as metallic and fluorescent inks or spot varnish or lamination. However, it can be quite expensive and difficult to produce the correct inks for each individual colour that is required.Go Back to Glossary