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The Do's and Don'ts of Spot UV Design

22 September 2017
Design Inspiration

The Do's and Don'ts of Spot UV Design

Spot UV has the ability to make anything feel instantly more upmarket and luxurious. That being said, you do need to put some thought into it – you can’t slap on a bit of spot UV just because you feel like it. Take a look at these examples of spot UV to discover how it’s done well and what you should try to avoid.


…Create Interesting Textures

Spot UV Texture

Thanks to spot UV’s unique feel, you can really appeal to people’s sense of touch. This card has managed to create the illusion that the card is made out of a kind of textured metal. The contrast between the centre rectangle and the textured outside really brings the important information to attention. People will love running their fingers over this card to feel all the bumps.

…Make Use of Repetition

Spot UV Repetition

One simple way to create an effective spot UV design is to repeat a specific element. This could be a symbol related to your company or your actual logo like this person has done. We particularly like how this design manages to link the reverse side with the front. You could imagine this being applied to a luxurious invite or presentation folder as well as business cards.

…Create Subtle Patterns

Spot UV Patterns

Spot UV is at its most effective when used without changing the colour beneath it. When applied to a large block of colour, the glossy finish is enough to distinguish spot UV shapes from the background, meaning that really subtle, sophisticated images can be created. This example really shows off how effective this can be.

…Be Relevant

Spot UV Relevant

Spot UV Relevant.2

This tip is especially important when it comes to business cards which is where spot UV is predominantly used – give people a visual hint at what you do. These are a couple of great examples where spot UV has been used to do just that. The first example comes from a guitar teacher, hence the creation of guitar frets, and the second comes from a director which, of course, makes sense with the inference of a film clapper board.

…Be Sparing

Spot UV Sparing

As with many things related to design, less is more. As this business card shows so well, sometimes just a small amount of spot UV can be incredibly effective. Sometimes you don’t need repeating patterns or textures. Sometimes you just need your logo.

…Make Use of Negative Space

Spot UV Negative Space

When most people think of spot UV designs, their instinct is to create new elements in spot UV. But, what if you could really emphasise the contrast between spot UV finish and uncoated stock, and create a feature out of the absence of spot UV as this card demonstrates?


…Use Too Much

Spot UV Too Much

This card is almost entirely covered in spot UV. Now, this may still be appealing to some people. After all, the spot UV coating will still feel different to normal stock. However, there’s no contrast here between coated and uncoated stock. Nothing is emphasised by the spot UV because it’s all spot UV. We find that spot UV is most effective at up to 25% spot UV coverage.

…Conflict with the Printed Design

Spot UV Conflicting

Spot UV is reflective in nature due its glossy finish. That means, that when it is held at a certain angle, in certain lights, it can become impossible to see what is underneath, especially when the spot UV design does not match the printed design – like in this example.

…Include Small Gaps

Spot UV Definition

Now, this last tip is a little different because we couldn’t find an example showing exactly what we’re talking about, but it is a very practical tip that you should take heed of.

You’ll see here that the circles within the letters are intentionally filled in. When using spot UV on textual elements you may find this happening, unintentionally, if your text is too small – especially if the font uses thick strokes. So, in order to maintain clean definition, be wary of small, chunky fonts or, indeed any pattern with small enclosed gaps.

Hopefully this blog has given you some great ideas for your next Spot UV project. Learn How to Set Up and Upload Spot UV Artwork so that your design comes out exactly the way you want it to. We offer spot UV on business cardspresentation folders and flyers.


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