Spot UV Artwork Guide

This guide will show you how to supply artwork for items with a Spot UV 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 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 page denoting where the Spot UV needs to be applied.
  2. Make sure your Spot UV areas stay clear of edges, folds and perforations to prevent flaking.

Let’s dive into a bit more detail about how to design effectively for this technique and how to supply Spot UV artwork.

Using Spot UV to pick out details in your artwork

A popular and effective way to use Spot UV varnish is to pick out details such as graphic elements, logos or text and apply varnish over them. The original print beneath will still be visible, but these areas will contrast with the background owing to the texture and shine of the varnish.

What about blind Spot UV?

Blind Spot UV is the term we use for when UV gloss varnish is applied to an area that doesn’t align with any feature of the artwork itself. The only contrast is produced by the change in texture and shine resulting from the UV varnish itself.

An extremely basic example of this technique would be a page that’s printed entirely in one flat colour, with a circular area of Spot UV in the centre. The only thing differentiating that circle from the background would be the contrasting texture and shine produced by the varnish.

An extra page for your Spot UV

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

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

Page 1 should feature all artwork elements, including the Spot UV finished areas which will show through the varnish. 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 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. Rest assured, the print colours you feature in your Page 1 artwork will show through the clear varnish.

Supplying artwork for your Spot UV

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

  • Place your order requesting double-sided Spot UV
  • 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 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 Spot UV.

Stay clear of edges, folds and perforations

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

Spot UV 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 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 areas must not cross any folds or perforation lines in your design. If any 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 areas are enclosed within the safe area and away from folds and perforations, your finished print will shine on long into the future!