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Print Production Essentials: Spot Colors and Varnish
Illustration by John Hersey

Considerations when using certain spot colors


From:

Print Production Essentials: Spot Colors and Varnish

with Claudia McCue

Video: Considerations when using certain spot colors

Not all inks behave the same. Why would some inks behave differently? Well, really, it boils down to chemistry. The source pigments that are the basis for inks can have unique behaviors. Some of them don't dry fast. Some of them don't stick well to previous ink or paper underneath. Some of them are prone to scuffing, and some of them don't give very heavy coverage. So here are some examples of common problem inks. Fluorescent inks, for example, use something called fugitive pigments. And what fugitive means is those pigments are subject to fading when they're exposed to sunlight or any UV light source.
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  1. 2m 37s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      33s
    3. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 19m 15s
    1. Why spot colors are necessary
      2m 32s
    2. Examples of spot color impact
      1m 45s
    3. Spot or process: Making the decision
      5m 31s
    4. Choosing a spot color
      4m 11s
    5. About the new Pantone Plus color system
      5m 16s
  3. 13m 23s
    1. How spot color inks are created
      6m 8s
    2. Considerations when using certain spot colors
      2m 35s
    3. Effects of stock on color
      2m 6s
    4. Proofing spot and special-mix colors before printing
      1m 0s
    5. Spot colors and digital printing
      1m 34s
  4. 5m 5s
    1. How spot varnishes can enhance a project
      1m 10s
    2. How varnishes, inks, and substrate interact
      2m 30s
    3. Combining different types of varnish to add dimensions
      35s
    4. Aqueous flood coatings
      50s
  5. 28m 26s
    1. Creating a multitone image (duotone and tritone)
      10m 59s
    2. Creating a simple spot color channel
      6m 30s
    3. Creating a touch plate to enhance a color image
      7m 25s
    4. Creating a spot varnish
      3m 32s
  6. 23m 14s
    1. Adding Pantone color swatches
      5m 18s
    2. Using Overprint Preview to proof the display of spot color transparency
      2m 58s
    3. 3D shading: Preview with overprint on
      2m 22s
    4. Converting spot colors to process
      3m 11s
    5. Creating a varnish
      5m 52s
    6. Creating spot gradients
      3m 33s
  7. 17m 44s
    1. Importing art containing spot color content and resolving issues with Ink Manager
      4m 28s
    2. Using Overprint Preview to proof the display of spot color transparency
      2m 30s
    3. Converting spot colors to process
      2m 29s
    4. Creating a spot varnish
      5m 35s
    5. Creating and using mixed inks
      2m 42s
  8. 7m 10s
    1. Examining with Output Preview
      4m 11s
    2. Using preflight profiles
      2m 59s
  9. 1m 9s
    1. What I hope you've learned in this course
      51s
    2. Next steps
      18s

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Print Production Essentials: Spot Colors and Varnish
1h 58m Intermediate May 09, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

While most printing today is accomplished via a four-color process, there is a wide range of practical and creative options available when you add an additional color or varnish. This course teaches how these additional colors are made and shows some examples of finished projects that use these colors. Author Claudia McCue also dives directly into Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and other creative apps and shows how to build documents correctly for printing.

Topics include:
  • Why spot colors are necessary
  • Making a decision between spot and process colors
  • Choosing a spot color
  • Understanding the effects of stock on color
  • Printing spot colors digitally
  • Using varnishes
  • Creating a multi-tone image in Photoshop
  • Adding Pantone color swatches to Illustrator
  • Creating spot varnishes in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign
  • Using preflight profiles in Acrobat
Subjects:
Design Print Production Design Skills
Software:
Acrobat Illustrator InDesign Photoshop
Author:
Claudia McCue

Considerations when using certain spot colors

Not all inks behave the same. Why would some inks behave differently? Well, really, it boils down to chemistry. The source pigments that are the basis for inks can have unique behaviors. Some of them don't dry fast. Some of them don't stick well to previous ink or paper underneath. Some of them are prone to scuffing, and some of them don't give very heavy coverage. So here are some examples of common problem inks. Fluorescent inks, for example, use something called fugitive pigments. And what fugitive means is those pigments are subject to fading when they're exposed to sunlight or any UV light source.

And high heat can cause fading as well. So that might mean that if you're creating an outdoor piece, maybe it's not a good idea to fluorescent inks. And sometimes it can take two passes to get full coverage, to get the strength of color that you want. So if that means that you have to use two units on the press, it means you're using more ink. That could add to the cost of the job, but that could mean that you get the color that you have your heart set on. Some fluorescent inks actually have coarser pigments, so that might mean that very fine detail and half tones may not show up the way you want. So you might consider just using them more for flat areas. If you wanted to mail the piece, and you thought maybe you should varnish on top of it to prevent scuffing, some varnishes don't adhere well to fluorescent inks, and varnishes can dull that bright look that you're looking for in fluorescent inks too.

Although it's possible to add dryers to the ink, and that can speed up the drying and that may prevent some scuffing too. Reflex Blue is sort of famous for being a misbehaving ink and it's a dark blue. It's something we as human beings apparently really love. Think how many logos are navy blue. But its problems include very slow drying, it's prone to scuffing and after the printed piece has been around for awhile, you'll see some oxidation. There's a sort of bronze appearance. On top of the ink.

So, what do you do, not use it? As much as we want navy blue, there's gotta be a way. Well, now we're starting to see synthetic reflex blues. The color's a little bit different from old fashioned reflex blue, but you should check and see if that's close enough, it's acceptable to your client, it's probably the solution. But with any of these inks, if you have a conversation with your printer, before you get too far into the design. You can prevent these problems. You don't want to discover these issues when you're about to go to press. And then you have to compensate for them. So as with so many things plan ahead.

Talk to your printer, be aware of these issues and you can find ways to work around them.

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