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Lesson 7. Advanced Typography and Layout > Creating and applying a spot varnish

Creating and applying a spot varnish

As an optional design technique for this brochure, you can add a spot gloss varnish to parts of photographs to make the parts seem to pop off the page. Spot varnishing is often used to emphasize or enhance certain parts of a printed piece. You will define a spot color that will separate onto its own plate when you print separations.

Deselect all artwork.

In the toolbox, select the Fill box. Be sure the fill is set to a color other than None. In the Swatches palette, click the New Swatch button.

You cannot preview a spot varnish on-screen, so you will select a color for it that you can see easily.

Double-click the swatch, set the Color Mode to CMYK, and set the color to 100% Cyan. This way, you can easily see where your varnish is on-screen.

Name the color Gloss Varnish. For Color Type, choose Spot Color. Click OK.

Defining the Gloss Varnish color swatch

Now you’ll create a layer for your spot varnish elements. Because the varnish will cover objects on your screen, putting the varnish on its own layer will make it easy to quickly hide and show the varnish plate. Just remember that before you send your job to print, make sure the varnish plate is not hidden, or else it won’t print. (Illustrator does not print hidden layers.)

Alt/Option-click the New Layer button in the Layers palette. Name the layer Spot Varnish.

To make the construction worker on the cover stand out, you will create a spot varnish inside the rectangle that surrounds that part of the photo.

Select the rectangle that outlines the construction worker on the cover of the brochure (the upper right side of the upper panel).

Copy it and then paste it in front by pressing Ctrl/Command+F.

With the copy of the rectangle still selected, in the Layers palette drag the current selection dot from the Artwork layer up to the Spot Varnish layer.

With the rectangle still selected, choose Object > Path > Outline Stroke.

Using the direct-selection tool, select the outer path and delete it. The shape now covers only the part of the photograph that falls on the inside of the rectangle and does not cover the black rule.

Fill the new shape with the Spot Varnish color.

Choose Window > Show Attributes. In the Attributes palette, select Overprint Fill. This will allow the objects that appear below the varnish to print when separations are made.

Selecting the Overprint Fill option

You can also add a spot varnish to the circular photo in the lower left, by using the group-selection tool to select the circle outlining the construction worker. (The circle is part of a mask and is grouped.) Repeat steps 6 through 12 to add the spot varnish color and set it to overprint.

As a final step, you’ll add registration marks to enable registering the artwork elements and aligning the separations precisely. You cannot choose individual marks to be placed around the artwork. In Illustrator, the printer’s marks are either turned on or turned off.

Choose File > Separation Setup. Select Use Printer’s Marks. Click OK.



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