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Spot Colors

Lesson 11 from: A Complete Guide to Color in Adobe Illustrator

Jason Hoppe

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Lesson Info

11. Spot Colors

Understand what spot colors are and how and why they are used. Access the Pantone Matching System (PMS) color library in the Swatches panel to choose spot colors. Convert process colors to the matching spot color using the Recolor Artwork panel.
Next Lesson: CC Libraries Panel

Lesson Info

Spot Colors

Now let's talk about spot colors. What is the spot color and why do we use it? Well, if you're familiar with printing, you understand very much what a spot color is and what it does. But that doesn't help if you don't know what a spot color is or how it's used. So the easiest way to understand a spot color is thio. Understand a box of crayons when you open a box of Crans each and every kran is its own color. It's a single color. Just think of it as a Single Inc and whatever color you want, you use that cran. You don't tend to mix the colors of crayons together in order to get what you want as a result in color. Now, this is what happens when you mix CM week together. You get all these different colors. The reason why is because we have color printers that use cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink to end up producing a full range of colors. But if you're printing a very simple say, a business guard or a post card or label every ink that you print costs money, and if I'm using a specific y...

ellow. Here it may consist of some scion, some yellow, some a gentle, maybe a little bit of black. And these were all these colors that get mixed together and may muddle the overall look. So certain things that we use spot colors for that are very relevant. A metallic ink. Well, we don't have any type of metallic coming out of cyan, magenta, yellow and black or pastels or varnishes or any type of very vivid color. So spot colors then come in to play where we have the set of colors that is not part of our four color process are cyan, magenta, yellow and black. But our single inks, the most used Pantone, are the most used spot color system is the Pantone matching system. To access those colors here from our swatches panel, we're gonna click on the drop down menu and our swatches panel or cheese grater. We're going Thio open our Swatch library, and we're going to go to our color books and here all the different types of spot color or matching systems that are out there. We're gonna go to our Pantone and we're gonna go to our Pantone solid matching system which is also called RPMs. Pantone Matching system and the Pantone colors are listed by number, and you can see here when I hover over there. If somebody says Pantone. 14581485 I should say that means that this color, wherever it's printed in the world, will use this particular color as a single color ink. Why have created this label? When I created this label, I just used colors that were in my Swatch panel or I created colors and I wasn't thinking about a spot color. Well, now I've got to go in, and I've got to apply these spot colors because the clients come back and says, Okay, we only have money to print with three different colors the yellow, the black and the orange. Now, if this is printing in four color process, it's just going to break down these colors into parts of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. But now I need to go in and apply a spot color to these. So using my Pantone coated my Pantone solid coated by the way, the coded and the uncoated simply means the type of paper that it's going to be printed on, and that doesn't really affect the colors. It's the exact same color that we see on screen. It's just that it represents slightly different because coated paper that color is going to sit on top, look more vibrant. Uncoated paper is going to absorb the color in. So it's the same color ink. Whether it's coated or uncoated paper, it just represents slightly differently on screen. So I'd like to apply a yellow. I could go in and I could guess what yellow I'm going to be using in my Pantone colors here. And if I just randomly guess which is not a smart way of doing it, and I say, Well, maybe that works and I click on that. It's like, Okay, that's pretty close. The second I click on that color from my Pantone library, it puts it into my Swatch panel. Now you'll notice that any spot color has that little dot in the lower right hand corner. All spot colors are global because we can't go in and edit this color at all. It is a predetermined color, and there's no way that we can change the makeup of this color just like the make up of a crab. If you buy a crown that's cherry red, it's cherry red. There's no way you can manipulate that color. Same is true, and illustrator, I can't go in and manipulate this spot color. However, this makes it really tricky when I'm trying to go in, and I'm trying to match the colors in my artwork to my entire list of Pantone colors, which there are thousands off. So doing the random guessing game of coming close enough doesn't work. I'm going to show you how you can get Aske Llosa's possible with very little work. I'm going to select all of my artwork. I'm going to go into the edit menu. Edit colors, re color artwork. I'm going to skip past this initial editing window and go to my advanced options. Now here are the colors that are used in my document. White doesn't print, so we don't have to worry about that. I have my orange, my yellow and my black Well, Black is a spot color in and of itself because black is just simply black, so that's not a problem creating a spot color out of that. But how do we get these to the closest spot color possible. Simple. We go to our color group dropped down lower right section of this assign panel, and we're going to call up our color books and we're going to apply a color book to these colors and you see what's happened immediately. It has taken the closest color from our current colors used in our document, and it is automatically picked the spot colors that it needs right there. Done it, picked the closest representation, and I click OK, and it's automatically added those to my swatch panel just like that. And it's like, Okay, this is amazing. Yeah, it ISS So if I click on money wing of, maybe it automatically has applied that spot color to it. This is incredible. Now I want to go through what I wanna make sure I capture all the yellow in this logo. I don't wanna just click on every single section and make sure that I've done this and got that spot color applied. I'm going to click on the wing, go under the object menu or sorry, I'm going to click on the wing, go into the select menu and say select the same fill color every place where this fill color is used, I will be able to go ahead and apply my spot color to it. If this were a stroke, I could do the same. Select the same stroke color or fill and stroke, or just stroke color, and make sure that these air all applied correctly. I'm gonna double click to get into my honey comb structure and back, and I see that that is applied to the stroke, and that's a spot color right there. I call up my stroke. I see that that's applied to it. This is great. My spot colors are all applied now. If I click on any of my blacks here, black by itself is a spot color. So I'm gonna click on this. And yep, it's right there. Well, black is a spot color because it's one of the basic primary colors. Interestingly enough, folks, Scion is a spot color because it's a basic color. We don't mix anything to get scion. It just simply is so cyan. Magenta, yellow and black are also spot colors. There's a certain phone company out there that uses magenta as their primary color that happens to be a spot color because you mix nothing together to get that color. If I'd like to make black a spot color, I'm actually going to create a new Swatch. And I'm going to call this my spot black because I'm using a single color. I'm going to call this a spot color, but I do this. You can see I'm using the one single spot color and black, and I'm calling it a spot black. I'm telling it to be a spot color, and I click OK, and it added it to my Swatch panel because I had that add to my library. Checked when I created that swatch, and it's right there in my it's watch panel. I'm just gonna move it over here so I have all of this and now I could go through and I could select all of my colors and I could apply my black do that as my spot color, and I could tent this to get the right tint around the border and so on and make sure that all of my blacks are going to be my spot color. Quite cool. Now, One thing that I advise against is, we can go in and create a new swatch color. So let's go in and create a new swatch color. And if you're going and you're choosing and you're mixing your own colors here, say, Oh, I'd like Thio go in and make this purple. I like this, and I'm going to turn this into a spot color right here. Well, turning it into a spot color doesn't necessarily mean that it now will go ahead and conform to any of the matching systems just by declaring it a spot. Color doesn't actually make it a reproducible spot color. And the reason why is because when you go and you mix your own inks right here, it doesn't necessarily jive with any of the Pantone colors here. So this is something that I advise against doing. If you truly want a spot color, go in and pick it from any of your spot color menus. Even if you want black is a spot color. You can actually go in and choose the Pantone black, so if you want black is a spot color. You can select the black, and you can actually choose Pantone Black as a spot color It's just black. It's just black, but it actually is made as a spot color so that it will then register as a spot color in here. If you'd like to, you make the black a spot color. It's very simple to dio. Pantone actually has black as a spot color, by the way. They also have cyan, magenta and yellow as spot colors because they actually are spot colors. Let's go ahead and list the Pantone colors as the name on the list. You can see that we have Pantone black. It's a single color black. It's a spot color. It's just black, but they also have Pantone yellow, and they also have Pantone Scion, and they also have Pantone Magenta in order to make up all of these colors. So, interestingly enough, cyan, magenta, yellow and black is standalone. Ing's are actually spot colors, interestingly enough, but if I do want to use a single color black, I can just create a Pantone black and or use a Pantone black by selecting it here. One thing I advise against is creating a new saw each color and calling it a spot color, and the reason why is because when you create a new swatch based on C M y que or RGB, you're calling it a spot color, but it really isn't. If this were go to print, the printer would call up and say, Okay, you named. This is a spot color, but I don't see it conforming to any matching system whatsoever. And that's when you say No, this is I want this. Orange is a spot color Well, if you truly want that orange is a spot color, it must match one of the matching systems here. So don't go in and create a new colors. Watch and just simply say, Presto. It's a spot color. No. Choose from your Pantone's solid list or create a color growth here headed colors and map it to a spot color created in your panel and then make sure that it's applied to your artwork.

Class Materials

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Working AI Files
Color Modes
Color Wheel.mp4

Ratings and Reviews

Paula Ayers

Well taught and super useful. Will be looking at his other classes.

Nelson Mueller

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