Process vs Spot Colors: What's the difference?

Color: It’s Complicated. 

Bringing colors from screen to print is an intricate process.  Understanding the differences between Process Color and Spot Color will help prepare you for what to expect and set you up for success.  

There are two methods of color printing: Process color and Spot color.  Here at Sttark, we print in CMYK Process color. 

Process Color: Connecting the dots 

Process color applies four basic CMYK ink colors (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) in a layered dot pattern. The color seen by the eye is achieved by printing tiny dots of CMYK inks that combine together to achieve a variety of hues. A vast array of colors can be created from just these four inks, quickly and economically! 

Spot Color: A Solid Decision

Also referred to as Solid Color, this method involves printing with inks that have been precisely pre-mixed in a desired shade, similar to how a home improvement store would pre-mix paint in your selected color. The result is an exact color consistency from run to run, as well as no visible dot pattern: 

Which is right for you? 

You’ll find both Process colors and Spot colors widely available in the print industry. Which method you choose depends on what is most important to you.  

CMYK provides a wide range of colors for a lower cost, but it cannot produce hues with the same accuracy as Spot colors. Spot colors provide the best color precision, but will also pull more money out of your pocket.   


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