What Is Spot UV Printing?

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you are looking for packaging solutions, click here.

Do you want to know the best way for logos and brand elements to pop out? Read our article about spot UV printing!

Table of Contents

Last Updated on February 22, 2024 by Packoi Team

One way to make packaging more attractive to customers is to have a part of it pop out at them. For instance, the labels and figures on the front could be bigger, more colorful, and fancier—even shinier! 

A glossy effect for labels or designs on the packaging is possible through spot UV printing. It is a type of coating or embellishment that ensures only a portion of a material or surface is embellished, allowing it to stand out better. If you’re interested in it, read on, as this article will talk more about it!

What Is Spot UV?

Spot UV

Although often referred to as spot UV printing, this technique is a type of coating or embellishment. Specifically, a varnish is spread over a printed design or spot you want to embellish, and then it will be cured using ultraviolet light. 

The cured varnish then leaves a shiny, hardened coating over the printed. This leaves the spot UV coating looking glossy and sometimes having a texture (i.e., feeling elevated), whereas a regularly printed label only looks and feels flat.

The unique effect of spot UV printing makes it popular among product makers. It is used in manufacturing cards, packaging, labels, folders, and more. 

Ready to Get Custom Packaging for Your Business?
start with a low minimum order quantity

The Spot UV Printing Process 

The spot UV process is derived from general UV printing, wherein sheets of packaging material are coated with varnish using a machine and then exposed to UV lamps for curing. 

But because spot UV printing only embellishes a specific portion instead of an entire surface, an extra step—creating mask files—is necessary. Thus, here are the steps to spot UV printing:

Foiling and Spot UV-style Print Effects - Matrix Laminating Systems Video

  1. Design and Preparation: The first step involves designing the printed material. This includes deciding which areas will receive the spot UV treatment. These areas are typically logos, text, or any other design elements that one wishes to emphasize. The designer creates a separate layer or file that indicates where the UV coating will be applied.
  2. Printing the Base Layer: The initial design is printed on the chosen material, usually paper or cardstock. This can be done using traditional printing techniques such as offset printing or digital printing, depending on the quantity and specific requirements of the project.
  3. Applying the Spot UV Coating: After the base layer ink has dried completely, the material is then processed through a Spot UV coating machine. The machine uses UV light to cure a clear varnish applied only to the areas specified in the design file. The varnish is applied with precision, ensuring that only selected areas receive the glossy finish.
  4. UV Curing Process: The varnish is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light as it passes through the machine. The UV light quickly cures (dries and hardens) the varnish, creating a shiny, clear coat over the specified areas. This process enhances the visual and tactile quality of the printed piece.
  5. Final Inspection and Finishing: After the spot UV coating has been applied and cured, the printed materials undergo a final inspection to ensure quality and consistency. Any necessary finishing touches, such as trimming, folding, or binding, are completed at this stage.

Also, it is important to note that the specific steps or processes may differ among manufacturers or printers. For instance, those who primarily utilize raised spot UV printing (discussed in the next section) may have very different steps as it is a digital process, in contrast to standard spot UV printing, which still has some traditional elements like templates and dyes. 

Special Types of Spot UV Printing

There is also a special type of spot UV printing called raised spot UV, which leaves the high gloss UV coating feeling raised or elevated. Unlike the standard spot UV printing process, raised spot UV is also entirely digital, thus, minimizing the need for dyes and other preparatory steps.   

Another unique type of spot UV printing is blind spot UV. Blind spot UV is appropriate for printing on a darker substrate or background, often utilizing the clear impact technique (read on, as we will discuss it in a later section). However, the actual UV coating process is similar.

The Benefits of Spot UV Printing for Your Packaging

The main benefit of spot UV printing is aesthetic appeal: the product looks glossier and more elegant than regular print.

However, there are more advantages to spot UV printing than just mere appearances:

  • Good impression on customers. The product leaves a better and longer-lasting impression on customers. The luxurious look and feel of UV coating designs stand out to customers, which translates to positive marketing for the product. The elevated feel of the design provides a unique experience. Especially if you opt for raised spot UV, your printed piece will provide a unique, tactile experience that is memorable for the customer.

Spot UV Printing

  • Long service life. The UV design (and the printed material) last longer. UV coating designs are typically more durable than others because they are hard. The hardened layer also acts as a protective layer for the material they are printed on, so the packaging lasts longer.

  • Quick and easy process. UV coating cures quickly, so you would not have to wait long for the end product. 

  • Extremely versatile. It can be applied to many products. You can apply this coating technique to packaging boxes, business cards, labels, and other printed materials. Thus, it is extremely versatile.

  • Safe and environmentally friendly. Spot UV coating is stable, so you won’t have to worry about harmful gas, solvents, or volatile organic compounds being byproducts.  

  • The results are quick and consistent. If you plan to produce several pieces of packaging or cards with a decorative effect, spot UV printing will help ensure that they look consistent, and you can get them ASAP. 

  • Cost-effective. It is more economical than a whole shiny finish. Because only certain spots are embellished or highlighted, spot UV printing is more economical than standard UV coating and other finishing techniques. 
Ready to Get Custom Packaging for Your Business?
start with a low minimum order quantity

5 Common Uses for Spot UV

Spot UV printing has several applications. In this section, we’ll discuss a few of the common uses for spot UV:

1. Business Cards

Business cards are used to relay important information, such as a business’s contact details. They are typically 3.5 inches x 2 inches, so they can be quite small.

Thus, the information on those cards must be clear and eye-catching. One way to ensure they pop out to readers is by spot UV printing the critical details, like business name, brand, contact numbers, etc. 

Aside from making the information stand out, spot UV printing makes the cards look professional and elegant. This positive impression may attract more customers, as they would tend to look twice at the luxurious-looking card and hesitate to throw a card away. 

Business Cards

Spot UV printing may also improve the durability of the cards. The added protection is important for business cards, as they are passed on from person to person, get exposed to various elements, and are crammed into various nooks and crannies. 

2. Postcards

Postcards were created as an alternative to traditional paper and mail. That is, instead of writing on a sheet of paper and folding it into an envelope, a person can write on a postcard and send it off as it is (i.e., sans envelope). 

People can do that because postcards are typically thick, so they aren’t flimsy and won’t need an envelope’s protection. That thickness also makes postcards ideal for spot UV printing! 

However, just like with business cards, you should first know the perks of spot UV printing advertisement postcards. To start, spot UV printing allows you to create unique yet long-lasting designs for your postcards. Given that most people keep postcards as memorabilia, that benefit is quite important. 

Secondly, colors pop out better with spot UV printing. Since a lot of postcards are colorful, it would be a good idea to make them appear as vibrant as they can be with spot UV printing. 

Lastly, spot UV printing makes the cards more durable! Thus, whether they are exposed to elements (through mail) or dust (through storage), the card’s art and the card itself will survive. 

3. Presentation Folders

spot UV with presentation folder

In its most basic sense, a presentation folder is one used for keeping loose documents. However, in the business world, it is more than just that. 

A presentation folder can be a marketing tool as well. They are the first thing that clients or investors see, so they must be attractive and reflective of the brand or sales pitch. 

To achieve that effect, some businesses use spot UV printing. The technique would allow them to incorporate customized elements in the folder’s design, make the folder more aesthetically and professionally appealing, and improve the folder’s durability. 

4. Hang Tags 

spot UV with Hang Tags 

As the name implies, hang tags are cards, cardstock, fabric, or some other material that hang from a product like clothes. They contain the most essential information, such as a price barcode, size of the item, instructions for proper care, product type, etc.

Hang tags are usually smaller than business cards. Thus, the information must stand out a lot so the product users don’t miss it. 

If the hang tag is made of paper material, like cardstock, then the business may use spot UV printing to attract the user’s attention, highlight critical information, and protect the tag. However, if it’s fabric or some other material, then another technique may be used. 

5. Packaging 

spot UV with packaging

Packaging is an underrated aspect of a product. Not only does it protect the item, but it also attracts attention and may even become the reason a person buys one item over another. 

Thus, many businesses invest in making their packaging more aesthetically pleasing but durable. One way they do that is with the use of spot UV printing, as the technique allows them to capture an elegant look and incorporate customized elements.

Spot UV printing also adds protection to the packaging, so the design and the material itself last longer.

Ready to Get Custom Packaging for Your Business?
start with a low minimum order quantity

Tip to Know When Using Spot UV for Packaging

As good as spot UV printing is, it can be an added expense for the business. Thus, it is good to have some tips that will help you know when to pay for such a process:

1. Luxurious and Professional Appeal

If your business wants to appear luxurious or professional, applying spot UV printing to your cards, packaging, and other printed material would be one way to reflect a premium look. 

2. Colored Designs

Spot UV design

Spot UV printing is ideal for colored logos, text, and designs because it makes the colors more vibrant, provides a high gloss finish, prevents smudging, and protects the colors so they last longer. 

3. Thick Material

If you are using thick or heavy business card stocks or packaging, then spot UV printing would be ideal. However, if you are utilizing thin film or paper, the glossy finish may not appear as good. 

4. Highlight Key Elements

If you want the brand logo, contact information, image, or some other design element to stand out to the customer, having it spot UV printed is a good idea. 

5. Matte Background

The lustrous shine and contrast between a glossy, spot UV coating and a matte finish background, which can also be matte lamination or varnish, is so distinct and eye-catching, so it’s a highly recommended combination. 

spot UV with  a matte finish

6. Clear Impact

Instead of filling in a design, you can create the element with spot UV coating itself through a printing technique called clear impact. That is, spot UV printing is done on a colored but blank material. The outline or shape it leaves is the design itself (e.g., a clear, elevated logo over a blank, colored business card). This process may also be better known as blind spot UV printing. 

7. Minimalist Design

It is not a good idea to spot-gloss several elements or have several UV coatings. Instead, it is often said that for this printing technique, less is more, so it is best for minimalist packaging yet sleek designs. 

Ready to Get Custom Packaging for Your Business?
start with a low minimum order quantity


Spot UV coating or printing is one of the most efficient ways to make a print material more impressionable and durable. It does so by making certain elements of a printed surface more glossy and elevated, allowing them to pop out. 

Such a gloss effect is easy to achieve, especially when you work with the right printing press or packaging company. They can assist you from conceptualizing a design appropriate for spot UV printing to actually producing the printed product. 

Custom Amazing Spot UV Printing with Packoi!

More and more businesses are making their packaging, marketing materials, and other products stand out with the creative effect of spot UV printing. Thus, don’t miss out on such a good trend! 

However, if you’re confused about where to start or how to make a spot UV print design, Packoi can help you. We are a leading packaging company that offers custom packaging and custom printing effects for our customers.

From design to manufacture, we have your back. Thus, if you want to know more about how we can help you with spot UV printing packaging, contact us today! 

Request Free Quote Now!

Share The Post Now:


Hey there, I’m Shelly!

I really enjoy the packaging and printing industry because my work makes my clients’ products more beautiful and enjoyable. If you have any questions about packaging and printing, feel free to contact me!

You may also find these topics interesting

Ask for Free Quote Now

We can provide Free Standard Samples for you to check the quality and printing options.

Send Your Inquiry Now

Get Free Sample Now!

Free standard sample can be provided for your evaluation according to your requirements.