What are spot color inks?
We primarily use one printing method: CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, and key/black). But some work is better suited to spot color printing.
We print spot colors using a single, pre-mixed ink. They allow you to print something non-traditional, such as vivid fluorescent colors or metallic tones. Spot color ink printing is also ideal for consistency, so if you print a design with a logo, the ink application will ensure every print is uniform. When choosing a spot color, consider the following:
- Decide whether you want to use the coated or uncoated version.
- Think about what kind of paper will give you the best finish. We offer free sample packs to help you make the best decision.
- Make sure you know what color you are looking for by sourcing a color chart from a company like Pantone.
- If you use spot color information from a third party, make sure you use the correct color values to ensure the printer uses the right type of ink for your prints.
Creating a spot color in your design app
There are several ways to create a spot color, so let us show you how to make one using popular design applications from Adobe Creative Cloud.
How to add a spot color in Adobe InDesign
- Step 1: Create a new spot color by selecting New Color Swatch in the Swatches panel menu.
- Step 2: Select the drop-down menu (which defaults to Process Color). Adobe InDesign will present you with a varied list of spot color styles. Select your preferred style, and then choose your color.
- Step 3: A spot color swatch will appear in your Swatches palette, which you can use in your artwork. Notice it has a different color icon compared to the process colors.
- TIP: To ensure we print your spot color correctly, please ensure there isn't a color below this layer as it could show through.
- Step 4: When creating your artwork, select any objects containing a spot color and open the Attributes panel (find this via Window > Output). Make sure the Overprint Fill checkbox is selected. The program will subtract the colours under the spot, and the ink will print straight onto the paper.
How to add a spot color in Adobe Illustrator
Creating a spot color in Adobe Illustrator is the same in principle as InDesign, but it's a little trickier to find.
- Step 1: Go to the Swatches Panel and select Open Swatch Library from the menu in the top right corner.
- Step 2: Select the option for Color Books. You will find a list of spot color providers. This list will then show a new swatch palette containing all the relevant spot colors for that color system which you can then drag and drop into your artwork.
- NOTE: You can import Illustrator artwork containing spot colors into InDesign. The spot color will be added automatically to your document’s color palette. This is helpful if you want them to be there, but you must remove them before exporting your files.
How to add a spot color in Adobe Photoshop
Spot colors in Adobe Photoshop work slightly differently since the program does not use vectors to create artwork. However, you can still use spot colors and even make spot colors with feathers and gradients.
- Step 1: Add a new channel that replicates the 5th plate in the printing process (4 plates to print your CMYK artwork and one for your spot color to be printed on top). It’s similar to adding an alpha channel.
- Step 2: In the channels, the palette selects New Spot Channel. It will create a new layer for your artwork.
- TIP: If you color elements of this layer using a black, white or gray brush, it will apply the specific spot color to your image. This means you can either paint into the channel using one of the many tools or copy and paste greyscale images into the layer to get a more textured effect.
How many spot colors can I use?
Mixam can only print one spot color per print job, so please choose your color carefully.