How to apply a Spot UV

Add a shimmer to your book or business stationery with a spot UV varnish and highlight key features in your prints for an incredible shine.

 

How does Spot UV work?

We print your artwork first, then add a UV coating on top of specific areas of your page that you want to stand out. We then expose the varnish to UV light which hardens it, leaving a high gloss finish
 

Spot UV printing is excellent for creating varied textures on a single printed surface. You can use it for editorial work, printed presentation items and logos. You can also apply a spot UV finish to backgrounds or areas where no print work appears for a subtle optical effect. For example, you could print a brochure headline with a spot UV, making it visible only from certain angles.
 

Spot varnishes work best on matt backgrounds where you can get a strong contrast. We recommend selecting the spot UV and matt laminate combination for the most striking effect.


 

Booklet with spot UV

 

How to submit your artwork

You must submit your artwork with a spot UV layer. When you export your file, it will generate a fifth plate (CMYK and your spot UV), which we will use as a guide. You can then upload the single PDF file to your Artwork Dashboard via your Mixam account.

 

 

 

 

 

Setting up your artwork for Spot UV

Making a single colour file for spot UV varies depending on which design program you use. But, the main principles stay the same.

Let us show you how to create a single colour layer using Adobe's Creative Cloud apps. You can apply the techniques to other design programs – but the functions may have different names.

Hard case book with spot UV on the cover

 

How to make a Spot UV layer in InDesign

Step 1: Set up your document correctly

  1. Select the Print tab when you create your new document. By default, InDesign will produce a document using a CMYK color palette, not RGB. Learn more about the difference between CMYK and RGB here.
  2. Ensure your new document has a high resolution and a 0.125” bleed set around all edges.

 

Step 2: Create a Spot UV Layer

  1. Open the Layers palette in your new document.
  2. Click on the square icon with a '+' symbol to add a new layer.
  3. Double-click your artwork layer and re-name it Artwork.
  4. Double-click the new layer and name it Spot UV. Ensure the Spot UV layer is above the Artwork layer, * as the Spot UV coating on top of your design will appear transparent.

 

Step 3: Add the object for Spot UV onto the Spot UV layer in the correct position

  1. Choose the object from the Artwork layer you would like us to Spot UV.
  2. Select the object you would like Spot UV on your Artwork layer and move it into position on your final design.
  3. You need to Copy and Paste in Place the object from the Artwork layer onto the Spot UV layer to ensure it appears in the same position as it was on the Artwork layer.
Swatch Options in Adobe InDesign

Step 4: Assign a Spot color to an object for Spot UV

  1. If the object you want to apply Spot UV to is text-based, you need to convert it into a shape. Select the object > Type menu > click Create Outlines.
  2. Next, you need to color the object as a Spot Color and name it Spot UV. To do this, select the object and open the Swatches palette > click the 'hamburger' menu icon top right > click New Color Swatch > uncheck the Name with Color value box > type Spot UV into the Swatch Name field.
  3. Select Spot from the drop-down menu titled Color Type. Using the CMYK sliders below, we recommend setting your color values to 100% Magenta (0% Cyan, 0% Yellow, 0% Black) so it stands out. And remember to set the color to Overprint (WindowOutputAttributesOverprint Fill on the Spot UV layer). 
  4. The Swatches palette will indicate if you have correctly created the Spot UV color. You should see a small grey square with a white dot inside to the right of the swatch named Spot UV.
  5. Export your design files to Adobe PDF and upload them to your Artwork Dashboard.

 

Step 5: Export your design ready for printing

  1. Ensure both your artwork layer and your Spot UV layer are visible. To do this, go to your Layers palette and make sure you have checked the eye icon - so it's 'on' to the left of each layer name.
  2. Under the File menu, select Export in the window that appears > bottom middle, and click Adobe PDF (Print) (*.pdf) from the drop-down menu. Select the location you want to save your print file and give your file an identifiable name, then click Save.
  3. An Export Adobe PDF window will appear. From the drop-down menu at the top titled Adobe PDF Preset, select Press Quality. Next, on the left of the window, select the menu titled Marks and Bleeds, and under Bleed and Slug, check the box titled Use Document Bleed Settings. These settings should be 0.125”, as Mixam requires a bleed on all print files. Please set a bleed before completing the Export steps. Unlike other printers, our system adds its own crop marks. Under 'Marks and Bleeds', ensure the box for crop marks is unchecked.
  4. Click Export and upload to your Artwork Dashboard.
 

How to make a Spot UV layer in Illustrator

Step 1: Set up your document correctly

  1. When you open your new document, ensure it is in CMYK color mode, not RGB. Learn more about the difference between CMYK and RGB here.
  2. Ensure your new document has a 0.125” bleed set around all edges.
  3. Ensure you set the Raster effects to High 300ppi.

 

Step 2: Create a Spot UV Layer

  1. Open the Layers palette in your new document.
  2. Click on the square icon with a '+' symbol to add a new layer.
  3. Double-click your artwork layer and re-name it Artwork.
  4. Double-click the new layer and name it Spot UV. Ensure the Spot UV layer is above the Artwork layer, *as the Spot UV coating on top of your design will appear transparent.

 

Step 3: Add the object for Spot UV onto the Spot UV layer in the correct position

  1. Choose the object from the Artwork layer you would like us to Spot UV.
  2. Select the object you would like Spot UV on your Artwork layer and move it into position on your final design.
  3. You need to Copy and Paste in Place the object from the Artwork layer onto the Spot UV layer to ensure it appears in the same position as it was on the Artwork layer.

 

Step 4: Assign a Spot color to an object for Spot UV

  1. If the object you want Spot UV applied to is text-based, you need to convert it into a shape. Select the object > Type menu > click Create Outlines.
  2. In the Swatches palette, click on the 'hamburger' menu icon top right, select New Swatch > Type Spot UV into the Swatch Name field > Go to Color Type > select Spot Color from the drop-down menu. You can now pick any color you like from the CMYK sliders below. We recommend setting your color values to 100% Magenta (0% Cyan, 0% Yellow, 0% Black) so it stands out.
  3. The Swatches palette will indicate if you have correctly created the Spot UV color. You should see a small square with a white dot inside to the right of the swatch named Spot UV.

 

Step 5: Export your design ready for printing

  1. Ensure both your artwork layer and your Spot UV layer are visible. To do this, go to your Layers palette and make sure you have checked the eye icon - so it's 'on' to the left of each layer name.
  2. Under the File menu, select Save As in the new window > bottom middle, and select Adobe PDF (pdf) from the drop-down menu. Select the location you want to save your print file and give your file an identifiable name, then click Save.
  3. Save Adobe PDF window will appear. From the drop-down menu at the top titled Adobe PDF Preset, select Press Quality.
  4. On the left-hand side of the window, select the menu titled Marks and Bleeds. Under Bleeds, check the box titled Use Document Bleed Settings. We require a 0.125” on all print files, so please ensure the settings show this. Please set a bleed before completing the Export steps. Unlike other printers, Mixam's system adds its own crop marks. Under Marks and Bleeds, please leave the box for crop marks unchecked.
  5. Click Save PDF and upload it to your Artwork Dashboard.

 

Create Outlines in Adobe Illustrator

 

How to make a Spot UV layer in Photoshop

UV layer in Adobe Photoshop

 

 

You can create a Spot UV layer in Photoshop, but we do not recommend it. Photoshop is a raster or pixel-based app, while Illustrator and InDesign are vector-based, using lines and paths to create shapes and text. Using vectors gives your design a crisper edge and a more accurate finish. 

However, you can still create a Spot UV layer using Photoshop. Follow the instructions for Spot colors here, and remember to save your document as a Photoshop PDF.