Spot UV printing is a popular printing, or better said, coating technique that has gained significant popularity in recent years due to its ability to add a glossy and raised effect to printed material.

This technique involves applying a clear and shiny coating of uv varnish onto specific areas of a printed piece, creating a contrast between the glossy and matte areas.

Spot UV is commonly used in the printing of business cards, postcards, and other marketing materials to enhance the design and make them stand out.

In this way, spot UV printing can be a powerful tool to add a touch of luxury and professionalism to your printed material.

What is Spot UV

Spot UV is one of the many specialty printing techniques used to produce impactful packaging to differentiate brands/products from each other.

Like lamination, it increases the perceived quality of printed items. This technique can be used to enhance key elements of your packaging such as;

  • Logos
  • Slogans
  • Artwork designs
  • Images

Note that spot UV ‘printing’ is a misnomer, as it is a coating technique as opposed to a printing method.

UV printing applies ultraviolet or uv light to white card stock or color-printed paper products.

The UV light cures the varnish applied to the printed material to produce a glossy finish to any design element

This coating targets specific areas/spots of the printed product to seal their color in, produce an attractive sheen, and protect the surface against moisture and other types of wear and tear.

The use of spot finish is also to create a diversity of textures on a printed surface for a dramatic, eye-catching effect.

Why Use Spot UV Printing?

Using Spot UV in printing and packaging provides a number of benefits that can enhance the overall quality and appearance of a product.

Firstly, it can greatly enhance the aesthetic appeal of printed material by adding a glossy and eye-catching finish. This can help to grab the attention of consumers and make a product stand out on store shelves.

Additionally, the use of Spot UV can create a luxurious and professional look, which can elevate a brand’s image and make it appear more premium.

Uv Coating spot uv coating spot uv business cards spot uv business cards

Another benefit of using Spot UV is that it can protect printed material from wear and tear, helping to increase the lifespan of the product.

Finally, Spot UV provides a tactile experience for the consumer, adding a unique element of interactivity and engagement that can help to build brand loyalty.

The Benefits of Spot UV

  • Overall presentation: The additional process of spot UV provides an undeniable & striking experience to anyone who sees it for the first time. It creates a visible textual impression that a standard coated print wouldn’t have.
  • Environmentally friendly: UV coatings do not contain solvents, nor do they release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at the time of curing.
  • Quick and effective: UV coating has an extremely fast drying time, which helps ensure fast lead times. Being a quick drying technique, the precision achieved is quite remarkable.
  • Protective layer: As the color on the printed item is sealed in, spot finish also offers reliable protection against moisture.

Spot UV Coating Applications

The applications of coating using UV include;

  • business cards
  • Invitation cards
  • Brochures
  • Flyers
  • Postcards
  • Card stocks,
  • Packaging boxes.

Several looks can be achievable, from a light glossy and high gloss uv coatings for an elegant matte or satin and a neutral finish.

This is a versatile technique suitable for heavy and thinner paper stocks; having said that, it is not conducive to very fine and thin paper.

Using Spot UV on Matte Lamination

Spot UV on matte lamination creates a striking effect on packaging, brochures, and other printed material.

The glossy appearance of spot UV and soft matte laminate highlight the message or graphic by making colors appear darker.

Apple makes use of this technique to reflect their sleek and minimalist product designs.

The iPhone packaging features a glossed Apple logo on a matte laminated background using spot uv printing. The subtle yet eye catching design sets the tone for apple’s overall user experience.

If you want your brand logo and images to stand out from afar and offer good visibility but a high end feel, put spot UV on matte laminate on your list.

Using Spot UV on a Matte Varnish

Matte varnish gives the packaging a smooth, even and non-glossy surface. Spot UV + matte varnish is a popular choice for luxury packaging, particularly in the case of jewelry and cosmetic products.

Take Glossier for example:

Glossier uses spot uv printing in their packaging design to create a minimalist and sophisticated appearance that complements their overall brand image.

Not only does it look great, it also helps add a protective layer to the packaging and prevents damage over time.

Glossier’s use of Spot UV is a great example of how this technique can be used to enhance a brand’s image and create a premium feel for its products.

The combination increases the vibrancy of certain areas of the printed surface for a luxurious, contrasting look.

Using Spot UV on a Soft-Touch Matte Finish

A soft-touch matte finish enhances the tactile feel of the packaging.

Spot UV + soft-touch matte finish is yet another way of achieving a sophisticated look and velvety texture. The method of combining soft-touch and spot UV is silk spot UV.

The Spot UV Process

The client supplies a mask file with instructions on where to apply the UV coating. The use of a silk-screen adds a clear UV coating on only the areas you have selected.

Mask files cannot contain gradients, pixels must be black or white, it cannot contain blurs nor shadows, and all of the artwork must have clean, sharp edges.

Spot UV is best reserved for fewer areas of the printed item – specifically the message or artwork. Too much of it scattered across the surface area can look cluttered and unaesthetic.

Factors to Consider when Using Spot UV for Packaging

When considering Spot UV for packaging, there are several key factors that need to be taken into account to ensure the highest quality outcome. These factors include:

  1. The type of paper or material used for printing: The type of paper or material used for printing can greatly affect the final outcome of Spot UV.

    Some materials such as uncoated paper and some plastics may not be suitable for this technique or may require special preparation, so it’s important to consider this when selecting materials.
  2. The design of the printed material: The design is also an important factor to consider. Spot UV can be used to highlight certain areas of an artwork design, so it’s important to consider which areas would benefit most from this technique and how it can be incorporated into the overall design.

    For example using it to highlight logos or aspects of focus benefit most from spot uv printing.
  3. The desired effect and outcome: When using Spot UV, it’s important to consider the desired effect and outcome.

    For example, a high gloss finish can create a premium look, while a matte finish can create a more subtle effect. Consider the goals of your project and what effect Spot UV could have on the final product.
  4. Budget considerations: The use of Spot UV can add an additional cost to the printing and packaging process, so it’s important to consider the budget when deciding whether to use this technique.

    Consider the potential return on investment and whether the use of Spot UV will ultimately benefit the project.

By taking these factors into consideration, it is possible to make informed decisions about the use of Spot UV in printing and packaging, ensuring the best possible outcome for the project.

In Conclusion…

Spot UV is a versatile coating technique that adds a unique and eye-catching element to printed products such as packaging, brochures, and business cards.

It provides many benefits, including:

  • Enhancing the aesthetic appeal of printed material
  • Creating a luxurious and professional look
  • Protecting against wear and tear
  • Providing a tactile experience for the consumer.

Spot UV can be applied to various materials such as matte lamination, matte varnish, and soft-touch matte finishes.

Overall, incorporating Spot UV into a branding strategy can help elevate a brand’s image and create a premium feel for its products as seen by some successful brands like Glossier and Apple.

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