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How to Set Up and Upload Spot UV Artwork

12 March 2018
Artwork Tips and Tricks

How to Set Up and Upload Spot UV Artwork

Over the summer last year, we installed several new pieces of equipment into our factory. One of the most exciting installations was that of a Scodix S75 into our new, dedicated business card production cell. Why is this exciting? Because it means that we can offer you the high-gloss finish of spot UV printing, something that can transform your designs into something that simply oozes sophistications and professionalism.

But what actually is spot UV and why does that mean you need to set up your artwork any differently?

What is Spot UV?

Technically, spot UV is not a printing process but a finishing process. A layer of clear polymer is applied to the stock over selected areas and then cured under a UV light to achieve a glossy seal. As well as creating a unique visual effect, a spot UV coating makes the print interesting to touch, too! You’ll often find people running their fingers over the spot UV elements of a design to feel the embossed, polished texture.

The name ‘spot UV’ comes from the fact that it is applied much like a spot colour and that is why you must be careful when setting up your artwork. Spot colours are premixed inks that cannot be sent to print like normal because the printer will attempt to create that colour using its CMYK inks. Instead, these colours must be applied unmixed and only to the specific areas of the design where the colour is present.

Just like with spot colours, spot UV artwork must signal to the printer that certain elements of the design are not created using the CMYK inks. Our studio team will do a lot of this for you but, in order to let them know what you want, there are a few things you need to do for us first.

How to Create and Submit Your Artwork

To keep things simple, we’d like two separate PDFs from you for each printed page; one for your general artwork and another for your spot UV design elements. Doing this means that our studio team know exactly what you do and don’t want in spot UV.

Setting Up Your Artwork

Like we mentioned earlier, our studio team will take care of the more complicated aspects of sending your artwork to print. First though, you need to make sure that your spot UV elements are perfectly aligned with the rest of your artwork.

  1. Create your design as normal and save it as your general artwork PDF.
  2. Delete any elements you do NOT want spot UV on and ‘Save As’ a new, spot UV PDF.
  3. Recolour the remaining elements with the same fill colour.
  4. Create any additional spot UV elements you want that don’t depend on the design beneath (use the same fill colour from before).
  5. Make sure to include “_SpotUV” at the end of the file name when you save.

Please note, we recommend leaving a 5mm safety zone from the trim line for all spot UV elements.

Uploading Your Artwork

After buying a product with spot UV on, you need to head to your account area. This is where you upload artwork for all of your orders.

Spot UV Screenshot 1

For spot UV jobs, you’ll be asked to upload two files for each printed page that you’re having spot UV on. For example, if you ordered a double sided flyer with spot UV on the front and back, you’d need to upload four files. One file for the front artwork, one file for the front’s spot UV elements, one for the back artwork, and one for the back’s spot UV elements.

Spot UV Screenshot 2

You’ll then receive a proof of your order. Your proof will include 3 pages for each printed page with spot UV on; your basic artwork, just your spot UV elements, and your basic artwork and your spot UV elements so that you can see if they’re lined up accurately.

Now that you know how to create artwork for spot UV, all you need to do is create a stunning design! For inspiration, check out our Do’s and Don’ts of Spot UV Design. We currently offer spot UV on business cards, flyers and presentation folders.