Most printed materials are produced using blends of four colors: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK). This is called “four-color process,” and is the default printing method for commercial print. Whether digital or offset, four-color process produces the dazzling array of colors we have come to associate with print on paper. But there are times when you need something beyond what CMYK can produce. This is where spot colors shine. Spot colors are created using premixed ink, usually based on the Pantone Matching System (PMS). These colors are tightly controlled and standardized, with each assigned a number that designers and printers can use to easily identify the same color every time. Coca-Cola Red, for example, is PMS 484. McDonald’s yellow is PMS 123.

When do you want to use spot colors? When your colors need to be . . .

Identical every time. Spot colors are often used for logos, branding, and other elements that need to be exactly the same no matter where or when they are printed.

Outside the CMYK color gamut. The CMYK gamut is vast, but there are times when you want a color outside what CMYK can produce. Spot colors (say, an exact deep, luxurious shade of lipstick) can hit colors that CMYK cannot.

Extremely vibrant. Although CMYK can produce a spectacular array of colors, there are some especially vibrant colors (such as neons) that can be produced only using spot colors.

Consistent across offset and digital. Offset and digital presses use different methods to put ink on paper. Although a great press operator can create a high level of consistency between them, if you have colors that must always be a dead-on match, spot colors are the way to go.

Less than four-color process. Because CMYK uses color builds, it requires all four colors in every project. If you have a project that requires only one or two colors, such as a newsletter, it can be less expensive to print using only the spot colors you need.

We can give you piece of mind when it comes to using spot color on your print marketing.  McClung is G7 Certification which means you get the same color output every time. So you can feel confident that everything matches, including brochures, mailings, promotional items, and signage.

Let us make sure you colors pop to make your marketing materials resonate. Contact us online or give us a call directly at 800-942-1066.

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