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Spot Color vs. Full Color Printing

What is the difference between full color printing and spot color printing?

Full color printing, also known at four color process, is a printing process using Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black inks.  These inks, sometimes referred to as CMYK, print using solid and screen tints or halftones which bleed together to produce a wide spectrum of colors. This method is used to reproduce color photographs and color graphics. Most magazines today are printed using full color process printing.  Over the last decade four color printing has become widely used for many printing applications even for small companies.  High printing costs associated with full color printing has dramatically dropped as new technology such as computer to plate reduced setup costs by eliminating costly film imaging, plate burning and the associated labor and material costs.  Another aspect that has helped to lower the high cost of full color printing is the practice of gang running multiple full color jobs on one large press sheet and distributing the costs of the press run proportionately by the number of jobs on the sheets.  This allows for very low cost full color printing, particularly with items such as business cards or postcards where many different jobs can be produced on a single press run.  We use computer to plate technology and gang run jobs when appropriate allowing us to provide very high quality full
color printing at very affordable prices.

Spot Color Printing is a method of printing where the color desired is the actual ink color used to print the sheet with.  For example if you wanted a business card with just green ink on it, we would put green ink in the press and print just that color.  Spot color printing is very cost effective for 1 and 2 color printing jobs.  In most cases, spot color printing is more affordable than full color printing.  Printing done in only black ink is also considered spot color printing.  We utilize the Pantone Matching System or PMS to identify the ink color we print.  Our standard PMS ink colors are Black, PMS Reflex Blue, PMS 485 Red, PMS 347 Green, PMS 357 Hunter Green, ad PMS 469 Brown.  We will also print any PMS custom ink color your desire.  We recommend you use a Pantone Spot Color swatch book when choosing these

Artwork for full color printing and spot color printing are not interchangeable.  If you are going to purchase full color printing, your artwork file must be design using CMYK (not RGB or Spot Colors).  If you are going to purchase spot color printing your artwork file must be set up for spot color printing.  Some applications such as Microsoft Word do not support Spot Color Printing or CMYK printing, so you need to make sure what ever application you use to design with supports the appropriate type of printing or color space.  RGB is a color space used by your computer monitor to display color and also by many inkjet office printers.  Microsoft's Publisher does provide CMYK and spot color printing capabilities, and as a Microsoft Publisher Service Provider we gladly accept and print your Microsoft Publisher files.

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