Test of Time Design

A look into what is going on inside our design firm.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Is there really any point to spot colors?

In an earlier post I promised to share my perspective on spot colors and the purpose behind using them. I understand this post may not be the most entertaining one, but a promise is a promise.

What is a spot color?
Because a printer cannot cotain every possible color combination, all printing is done using only 4 colors. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. As you can imagine using only these 4 colors, every possible color combination cannot turn out perfect. Orange for example is hundreds of magenta dots on hundreds of yellow dots. (If you examine an offset print job closely you will notice thousands of dots make up one print) A spot color is merely an exact match to the color of your choice, a spot color doesn't rely on other plates or colors. It is the same color every time.

Should you use spot colors?
So, given that most colors are fairly accurate when printing with the 4 plates, is there really any point to spot colors? The answer for most print jobs is "no". For those of you that think a spot color may help your print job, I have listed 2 good reasons you may want to consider using a spot color.
  1. Branding Consistency: If printing offset, the print connoisseur may see variation between different print runs or printer. If you are particular about a specific color it is best to use a spot color. This way the color will always be 100% accurate. In the USA, PANTONE is the accepted guide.
  2. Bolder Color (color accuracy): Certain colors such as Orange, and Green are equal blends of two different colors. These colors can be less clear or, "speckled" on close examination. If this bothers you, a spot color is your solution. You will see nothing but pure unadulterated color on your page.
Can you think of any other reasons to use a spot color? Leave a comment!

Labels: , ,