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How to Set Up Your Artwork for Spot UV Printing

26 September 2017
Artwork Tips and Tricks

How to Set Up Your Artwork for Spot UV Printing

Over the summer, we installed a several new pieces of equipment into our factory. One of the most exciting installations is 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 which simply oozes sophistication and professionalism.

But what actually is spot UV? And how does that affect the way you set up your artwork?

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. Read on to learn how you do that.

How to Set Up Your Artwork*

*These instructions apply to Adobe InDesign and Illustrator.

1. Create a Unique Spot Colour in Your Design Programme

  1. Create a new colour swatch in the swatches panelSpot UV Screenshot 1
  2. Change the ‘Colour Type’ to ‘Spot’
  3. Create a new colour value (we recommend using a bright colour to distinguish your spot colour from the colours you’re actually using in your design – we use 50% Magenta and 100% Yellow)
  4. Name this new colour swatch “Spot UV” – this is very important because our system has been set up to recognise the name Spot UV

Spot UV Screenshot 2

2. Design Your Spot UV Layer

  1. Create a second layer for your design (you might like to rename this layer to make things easier when you switch between the two)
  2. Toggle your viewing setting so that you can see what’s on the layer underneath
  3. Copy elements from your first layer and paste them into your second layer – or, if you’re applying small amounts of spot UV to a large block of colour for a more subtle effect or to create texture patterns, design completely new elements in the second layer. (Note: these elements should be vectorised shapes for best quality)
  4. Recolour all elements in the second layer with your unique ‘Spot UV’ colour.

3. Save PDF and Send to Print!

So, there you have it! It’s not that complicated, is it? Now all you need to do is create a stunning design – head to our blog on the Do’s and Don’ts of Spot UV Design for inspiration. We currently offer spot UV on presentation folders and flyers.


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