Bring your brand to (real) life.

Preparing Spot Colors for Specialty Effects

Why a Spot Color?

Spot colors tell the press operator there’s something different about a color, whether it’s a premixed PMS color, a specialty ink (such as White, Clear, Silver, or Gold), spot foiling, or something else. Spot colors also make it easier to know exactly where to perf, score, or die cut a piece.

How to set up a file with Spot Colors

Creating Different Layers

To avoid confusion, always create a new layer for unique spot colors. For instance, all spots that represent gold ink should stay together on a Gold layer. As should all foil spots, die lines, spot UV, and more. Note: You don’t need a separate layer for Pantone colors or non-specialty spot colors.

Choosing a Spot Color

Spot colors for specialty effects should be bold and obviously different from the rest of the piece. Try using orange for a graphic getting foiled or bright green for a section with spot gloss. Should a spot for a specialty color exist on or below another piece, always Multiply the top graphic.

Below are the CMYK values we prefer to use for our specialty ink colors:

  • “White”: C100 M0 Y0 K0
  • Clear”: C0 M100 Y0 K0
  • “Silver”: C49 M39 Y39 K3
  • “Gold”: C45 M45 Y74 K17

Creating a New Swatch

Adobe Illustrator

  • Window > Swatches > New Swatch
  • Select Color Type > Spot
  • Name according to the effect type and match to the layer name.
  • Choose a bold color.

Adobe InDesign

  • Window > Color > Swatches > Options ( ) > New Color Swatch
  • Follow same guidelines as Illustrator

Adobe Photoshop

  • Window > Channels
  • Select New Spot Channel
  • Click the color box to open the Color Picker
  • Choose a bold color or select from Color Libraries and click OK
  • Name according to the effect type, and change Solidity to 100%

Download the Guide

Related Articles 

What is Tactile Marketing?

What is Tactile Marketing?

Tactile marketing can be extremely useful for setting yourself apart from your competitors. Find out the real benefits and how you can execute a winning strategy.

read more