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Using Spot Colors in CorelDraw

By Laura Franco

The CorelDraw software manual may not give the industry specific instructions a screen-printer needs to prepare a graphics file for spot color creation, separation and output, but the great news is the program has everything you need to get the job done easily and accurately.

Are you changing all of your colors to black just to output files? You’re wasting valuable time. Read on to learn how friendly spot colors are to a screen-printer and how to increase your job turnaround rate while reducing costly downtime.

Not every color is a spot color. Consider this color:

It may look like a spot color but it is actually made up of a mixture of cyan (6%), magenta (73%) and yellow (95%), making it a process color for four-color process printing.

As it is now, you can’t output this process color as one spot color to a single sheet of film. Upon output, three films (cyan, magenta and yellow) will print and they will also be made of halftones requiring process inks and not specific solid colors. Use of CMYK or any of these other color models listed above to create a color swatch will result in a four-color process, halftone separations requiring multiple films and screens.

Let’s see what a spot color swatch looks like and how to work with them. Spot colors print clean and sharp and only create halftones when tinted, shaded, faded or used in a fountain fill blend. Other than that, all spot colors regardless of their actual color on screen will output as solid black to your film when at 100% tint.

This next color a true spot color. Notice the swatch has a very small white box with a black dot in it. Adobe Illustrator uses a similar symbol.

Work with spot colors when you are not creating a “four-color process” job for process printing.

The Pantone Library contains spot colors and is great to work with. CorelDraw also allows you to custom mix spot colors. Refer to your user manual for more details.

Important: When you are ready to output your separations, choose “print.” In the print window go the “separations” tab. Check “print separations.” You will see the spot colors in your file.

From the Corel file you can custom create registration marks and color them with the color registration. Please refer to your user manual for detailed instructions.

-- Laura Franco is vice president of sales and marketing for Freehand Graphics, developer of AccuRip, All Black Cartridges and Spot Process software. She has 20 years experience in graphic arts and screen printing.