is Spot Color?
a designer needs to match a particular color (a logo color perhaps)
in a printed piece or has a limited budget, then spot color is something
to consider. Spot colors can also be used alongside process (CMYK)
colors for greater flexibility.
To ensure that a printer uses exactly the color
that a designer intends, color systems were developed. The
most common of the spot color standards is the Pantone Matching
System or, PMS as it is more commonly known. All of the modern image-editing,
vector-drawing and page-layout programs come with a full library
of thousands of Pantone colors as part of the program.
In addition, designers will want to have a set of
swatch books that show printed examples of the colors and their
codes. Swatches are a more reliable method of matching or choosing
colors than doing so on-screen. This is because monitors are illuminated
by light behind them which makes colors seem brighter on-screen
than they are when printed on paper. Also, colors on a monitor are
created with red, green and blue light (RGB) rather than mixed ink
Though some may view spot color printing as being
much more limited than CMYK printing, there are many interesting
- Two or more spot colors can be mixed to create interesting colors
- Spot colors can be combined to create duotones, tritones and
quadtones that can be very effective and can add some visual interest
to otherwise grayscale images.
Unfortunately, it's difficult to proof spot color jobs. Most proofing
systems use CMYK-based technology. Some laminated proofs, which
work by attaching colored sheets of clear acetate, have some spot
colors available but these are often expensive.