spot uv printing

Catalogue Cover for Spot UV

A spot UV coating is a high gloss finish that is applied to certain graphic elements of a printed, marketing piece. If you’re considering printing spot UV business cards or other marketing pieces with a spot coating, you’ll need to set up your print ready files a specific way so they’re acceptable to your printer. In this video we’ll take you through the set up process so you’ll be able to supply those files. We recently completed a Spot UV project for Newcomp Analytics; we’ll use their catalogue design created in Adobe InDesign (shown above) to illustrate  our methods.

To view this video in full screen mode click the icon at the bottom right.
Our first step will be to create a new layer for the spot UV elements. Let’s click the layers icon and click New Layer and name the layer Spot UV.

Create a new layer in InDesign

Create a new layer in Adobe InDesign.

Now we’ll need to decide which elements will receive the Spot UV coating; you can apply Spot UV to logos, images, text or even an area that has none of the above. In our case we’ll be choosing a logo, web address and images. Let’s hold down our Shift key and single click the items we want spot UV to be applied to and then click Edit and Copy.



On the layers menu click the Spot UV  layer, then click the Edit drop down menu and select Paste in Place to paste the elements onto the Spot UV layer.


Click Edit>Paste In Place

Using Paste in Place ensures the chosen items will be in the exact position as the original which is very important when adding a Spot UV coating. We’ve now pasted the elements onto the Spot UV layer, let’s turn off the other layers to confirm we’ve got all of the elements we want Spot UV applied to.

Turn the layers off

Turn the layers off

Now we’ll need to switch all of the chosen items to 100% black, this ensures your printer we’ll be able to produce a plate for only the spot UV items. Lets press Ctrl+A (Edit>Select All) to select all of the items on the Spot UV layer, then click the Swatches icon and click Black.

Click Swatches Black

Click Swatches Black



We now have all of our Spot UV elements set up to output to the black/Spot UV plate.

If you’ve got all the correct items on your spot UV layer choose the Object drop down and select Lock, this locks these items in position ensuring they can’t accidentally be moved out of position which would cause the spot UV to be printed in the wrong location.

Click Object>Lock

We’re now ready to produce a press quality PDF for the Spot UV. With only the Spot UV layer turned on lets click File > Export to create your Spot UV PDF.



This PDF should be ouput as Press Quality with crops marks,  .375″ bleeds and have SpotUV in the filename.

Export Press Quality PDF

Export Press Quality PDF

Lets produce a press quality PDF for the CMYK print job. With the Spot UV layer turned off and your other layers turned on lets click File > Export to create your PDF. This PDF should be ouput as Press Quality with crops marks and a .375″ .

Turn your Spot UV Layer off

Turn your Spot UV Layer off

To test the position of your Spot UV file you can open your CMYK PDF in Adobe Acrobat and insert the Spot UV PDF as a page, if you toggle between the pages you should see no movement in the position of the matching elements.

Test your files for aligment

Test your files for alignment

Alternatively you can also toggle the Spot UV layer on and off and achieve a similar result.

The picture below is the completed catalogue with spot UV on the front and back cover.


You now have press quality PDFs of the CMYK print job and Spot UV that can be sent to your printer for successful completion. If you have any questions on this please don’t hesitate to call 1.800.350.7152 for assistance.



Capture attention with Spot UV Printing!

One of the most popular printing techniques available is called spot UV printing. Due to its affordability and versatility this coating technique is a great choice for your next marketing material order as it helps to highlight your business with its eye-catching, glossy shine.

In basic terms, this technique uses UV light to help set a coat of varnish applied to paper products to seal in the color and add shine. Depending on the technique used, spot UV printing can give a light or high gloss appearance.

Since spot UV printing is an additional coating it is best suited for heavier cardstock products, rather than thin paper. You’ll often find it used with silk products for business cards to add that luxurious look and feel. The “spot” reference comes in when you choose this technique the UV is only applied to certains “spots” on the printed piece such as a logo, graphic element or certain text(so part of the paper retains its original matte appearance while the spot-treated area is glossy).

Here’s a video that explains the process while highlighting some great designs so you can get an idea of where you can use spot UV printing to enhance your marketing materials:

Spot UV printing can be used on a variety of marketing material, such as flyers, brochures, business cards, etc. Adding this technique can help to lend a sophisticated feel to your marketing materials and help you stand out from the crowd. If you feel that your current cards lack an certain “oomph” then you may want to explore the idea of enhancing your next design with spot UV printing.


Designers: if you want to add spot UV printing to your repertoire, here’s a handy video to walk you through the process of adding it to your Adobe InDesign files.

Still not sure? Let’s talk – we can help you design some amazing marketing materials using spot UV printing to set your business apart from the crowd. Make 2014 your business’ year to shine with spot UV printing and say goodbye to those drab business cards and brochures!