Process vs. Spot Color: What To Know

Process colors and spot colors are both types of colors used for traditional screen-printing output. When you have materials and projects that you need to print, it’s best to know why and when you should go with certain colors and methods in your design. To aid in your understanding of the main differences between process and spot colors, read through the following explanation of process vs. spot color: what to know.

Process Colors

Perhaps the most common color printing method, materials utilizing this color profile option take part in a four-color process. Each process color is created out of percentages of four different inks that can create a variety of color and hue possibilities. Process coloring is also known as CMYK, as the ink colors are cyan, magenta, yellow, and key black. The color image is separated into these four colors, then recreated with one color being printed over the next. The final image is almost an illusion—a cohesive image of beautiful color.

Spot Colors

Spot colors, in contrast, are ink colors that are specially mixed and specifically calibrated to match a coloring system. Spot colors are typically created through an ink system without the use of screens, then matched with a color management system such as Pantone. Think of this option in terms of paint swatches—one specific color is picked out of similar shades from a catalog. These chosen inks are then put down onto paper for detailed application in one smooth run. This process makes more distinctive colors possible if desired and achieves an increased vibrancy overall.

Best Designs for Each Method

Narrowing down the jargon of these terms may be a bit puzzling, but these available options are not a hindrance. Each provides a possible advantage for your project. When considering process vs. spot color and what to know, consider your design first. Process colors are perfect to provide for a wide spectrum of colors, but it truly depends on your desired design and application.

Spot colors are more commonly used for corporate logos because of their accuracy and consistency. They are also wonderful for one to three-color printing jobs. Process colors may be the more economical option, as a special plate for the press needs to be made for each spot color. As you can see, there are pros and cons to each color printing option, but both are effective for their intended purposes.

No matter your choice, your printed design is bound to turn out excellently. At House of Printing, we offer corporate printing services to provide your company with finished projects of the highest quality. With top equipment to produce beautiful color and definition, we’ve got you covered with our service options. Talk to us today for advice on beginning your next printing project.