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Spot UV and Foil Guide

This guide will show you how to supply artwork for items with a Spot UV or Foil finish. By following these few simple tips, you can ensure that we’re able to translate your vision into a striking piece of print.


Two Golden Rules

There are two main aspects that make preparing artwork for Spot UV and Foil slightly different from normal. To make sure we’re able to recreate your design to your specifications and produce an attractive and durable print product, you’ll need to:

  1. Supply layered artwork with an extra layer denoting where the Spot UV or Foil finish needs to be applied.
  2. Make sure your Spot UV or Foil areas stay clear of edges, folds and perforations to prevent flaking.

Let’s dive into a bit more detail about how to stick to the rules and design stunning Spot UV and Foil print.

An extra layer for your Spot UV or Foil

When supplying artwork for a single-sided Spot UV or Foil finished product, you should prepare two pages of artwork:

  • Page 1 should feature the CMYK artwork
  • Page 2 should be the Spot UV/Foil artwork

Page 1 should feature all artwork elements, minus the Spot UV or Foil finished areas. We ask for CMYK artwork rather than RGB – a full explanation for this can be found in our Colour Guide.

Page 2 featuring the Spot UV or Foil artwork should be supplied as a vector file, with solid black areas denoting exactly where the Spot UV varnish is to be applied. These areas should be 100% black, and not made up of cyan, magenta and yellow.

If your printed item requires Spot UV or Foil on one side, but regular print on both sides, you should supply a four-page pdf:

  • Place your order requesting double-sided Spot UV or Foiling
  • Supply artwork as a 4-page pdf
  • Page 1, supply the CMYK artwork for side 1 (front)
  • Page 2, supply the CMYK artwork for side 2 (back)
  • Page 3, supply the Spot UV artwork for side 1 (front)
  • Page 4, supply a blank page as no Spot UV is required on side 2 (back)


For Spot UV or Foiling on both sides, Page 4 should contain the Spot UV artwork for Side 2 (back).

Rest assured, you’ll only be charged for Spot UV on sides where it’s actually used, so if you leave Page 4 blank, you’ll be charged for just one side of Foil or Spot UV.

Stay clear of edges, folds and perforations

When preparing your vector files to show where the Spot UV or Foil finish should be applied, there are a few factors to bear in mind:

Spot UV/Foil areas should be entirely contained within the safe area. The boundary of the safe area is 3mm inside the cutter guide on all sides. For a full explanation of safe areas and cutter guides, refer to our Bleed Guide. Any Foil or Spot UV areas that stray outside the safe area may be trimmed through, resulting in an unfinished edge that will be prone to flaking.


Spot UV/Foil areas must not cross any folds or perforation lines in your design. If any Foil or Spot UV areas continue across a fold or a perforation in your design, the finish is likely to crack and flake.

As long as your Spot UV and Foiled areas are enclosed within the safe area and away from folds and perforations, your finished print will shine on long into the future!