Spot UV Printing
Spot UV printing is a premium extra print finish, like a matt or gloss coating. Also known as Spot UV gloss or Spot varnishing it is an additional stage to the printing process used to create eye-catching designs.
The UV part of the description is short for ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light bulbs are used to initiate a chemical reaction that solidifies the varnish with a much quicker process than air drying.
Spot UV is a versatile print finish that is used for materials that are to be looked at closely and touched. The luxury effect can be used to enhance gift bags, brochures, business cards, leaflets, greeting cards and much more!
Spot UV Printing – The Production Process
Spot UV is used to highlight a specific area of a design to make it stand out against the background. You can maximise the impact of the spot UV if the background has a matt finish as this creates a greater contrast.
As the Spot UV finish is an additional process, the artwork files need to be set up to show what areas are to have the gloss effect. An additional layer or page to the artwork will need to be included that is clearly labelled ‘Spot UV’.
The area of the design that is to have the Spot UV finish needs to be duplicated and saved as a separate layer or page to the artwork. In the artwork, the colour of the Spot UV should be different from the CMYK design.
The artwork colour used for the Spot UV layer is often a magenta or yellow. It will depend on the design as the Spot UV detail needs to be different from the actual CMYK print design. The colour used to indicate the Spot UV area should be a single PMS colour.
When setting up the artwork files for print, it is a good idea to name the CMYK detail as ‘CMYK then SPOT’ as it clearly shows that an additional finish is required.
The CMYK part of the design is printed first, and if desired, a matt finish can be applied at this stage. As detailed by the Spot UV artwork, the printing machine adds a layer of varnish to the specific areas.
The printed material with the varnish areas is passed under an ultraviolet light that sets quickly to a glossy and hard-wearing finish.
When to Use Spot UV Printing
The exceptional finish of Spot UV printing makes it popular for brand logos on business cards and brochures. The gloss effect creates a raised texture that is satisfying to touch and pleasing to the eye.
As it creates a premium finish, it is often used by luxury brands who desire sophisticated marketing materials.
It is also possible to highlight certain parts of an image with Spot UV such as stars in the sky or water to create a sense of movement.
Spot UV can be extremely effective when used with dark colours such as black on black. A matt black background with a Spot UV logo or motif creates a premium impression.
Depending on the size of the printed material, there may be some limitations to what areas can have Spot UV applied.