CRW Graphics

Spot Color Printing: Getting your Brand Identity Colors Spot On for Quality Digital Printing

Ever wonder how Coca Cola® keeps it’s red – well, red? Having color consistency is key for their brand identity and they know it! It’s part of their strategy for building equity into their brand, making it more valuable. One way to achieve consistency among your marketing collateral is through the use of spot color printing. And this quick guide will help get your colors spot on when quality digital printing matters.
When Brand Identity Matters - Use Spot Colors

When To Use Spot Color Printing:

  • When you need to be sure an exact color (aka spot color) is matched for brand identity (i.e. corporate logos)
  • When your marketing collateral needs BRIGHT colors that exceed the capabilities of CMYK process colors
  • When three or fewer colors are required and you will not be reproducing full color photographs
  • When your design requires clarity in text and crisp, clean lines

Advantages of Using Spot Color Printing vs. Full Color Printing

  1. When you only require short run printing, spot color printing can cost significantly less than full color printing.
  2. Want to brighten up your marketing piece beyond CMYK capabilities? Pick spot colors to add vibrancy and increase available colors. Because of the way spot colors are mixed, there are many colors that can be created with spot color inks that can’t be duplicated accurately in process color printing.
  3. Most important for brand identity: Color consistency.

When using spot color on your printing project, it is a term given to a special ink (beyond cyan, magenta, yellow and black) that is typically printed on its own unit when utilizing offset printing.
Spot Color Printing beyond CMYK
This same process is utilized with digital printing by digitization of spot colors, which utilizes a spot color matching system that allows you to calibrate your RGB monitor color into CMYK colors in an effort to realize a good balance between reproduction of gray color on paper and on screen to come as close as possible to the spot color.

Technically Speaking: How Spot Color Calibration Works on a Digital Press

When running a spot color on a digital press, it utilizes Spot Color Calibration which automatically color-adjusts Pantone-coated colors to match their official licensed L*a*b* reference values. A digital press reads print engine data, compares them to the reference values, and modifies the CMYK recipe for each spot color to minimize the color difference. Spot color printing can achieve this and more.

How do you use spot color printing?


Photo Credit: “The World’s Biggest Brands” by GDS Infographics


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Filed under: Design, Digital Printing, Printing, Printing Inks