Spot colour

Spot colours are specially produced printing inks that are intended to produce a precisely defined colour tone. This shade is not composed of the standard printing inks cyan, magenta, yellow or black (CMYK).

Spot colours can be converted to CMYK colours, but then the desired colour tone is only approximately achieved. Since each spot colour that is additionally printed in CMYK printing increases the costs, this restriction is accepted in individual cases.


The spot colours are selected in publishing programs with colour tables, e.g. from Pantone or HKS. Pantone is a colour system for spot and process colours. Pantone has its origin in the USA and is also very widespread in Europe. Another colour system is HKS, developed by the german colour manufacturers Hostmann Steinberg, Kast+Ehinger and Schmincke. The individual colours of a colour system can be determined with the help of colour guides and colour tables.