To match a particular color, perhaps a logo color, then spot color is often the best choice. Spot colors are printed with premixed inks and each spot color is reproduced using a single screen.

To ensure that we print the exact color that the designer intends, the Pantone Matching System (PMS) is used. Each PMS number references a unique spot color and these colors can be found on a swatch chart. By using this type of numbering system, people can convey the exact colors for a printed piece to each other without actually looking at the same samples.

It’s important to remember that spot colors may not actually translate to matching process colors. Unlike process printing(CMYK), which prints dots of overlapping colors, a spot color is printed separately. Various shades or tints of the spot color can also be created by printing smaller halftone dots of the spot color (as shown in the picture below the black ink was half toned and printed directly over the other colored letters creating a unique pattern).

Photo by Design Pics/Design Pics / Getty Images


  • Influenced by the color of the shirt, printing on dark garments can become problematic
  • More time-consuming to work with
  • Can dry in screens and clog them
  • More expensive


       Spot color printing has some advantages over full color printing: 

  • Cost- Particularly on shorter runs, spot color printing can cost significantly less than full color printing.
  • Vibrancy and availability of colors. Because of the way spot colors are mixed, there are many colors that can be created with spot color inks that can’t be duplicated accurately in process color printing.
  • Consistency of color.