Difference between Spot Color and Full Color Process Sticker Printing

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You want to get custom printed stickers, but are not sure which printing process would work best for your design? Maybe you find all this terminology a bit confusing and are wondering why these two different forms of printing even exist? Or are you simply on a hunt to learn as much about the printing process as possible? 

No matter what brought you here, this article will answer your questions about spot color and full color process printing. We will look at the difference between the two methods and help you figure out which option is the best for you and your printing needs. So, without further ado, let us get started. 

What is the difference? 

Spot color and full color printing describe different ways of applying the ink to the media, that is, your custom stickers or sticky labels. While this might seem like a rather straight-foward process, different techniques can lead to different outcomes. 

When you choose spot color printing, each color is applied separately during the printing process. This means that each colour is created individually and has its own printing plate. Depending on the amount of ink used, different shades of color can be generated. 

During full color printing, on the other hand, all colors are applied at the same time. Full color printing is the most common printing technique, also known as digital printing. It uses a CMYK base, that is cyan, magenta, yellow and black, to create a variety of colors.

But how are you to decide which option works best for you? 

When should you use spot color printing? 

Because the colors used for spot color printing can specifically be created, this printing technique is great if you need to hit a specific brand color or you need an incredibly high color accuracy. 

Think of the Starbucks green or the Coca Cola red – these colors are always the same and appear evenly, no shading or blending. This is exactly what spot color printing is perfect for: one or two-colored designs. 

If you have a more complex design, but would like to use the spot color printing process anyway, it can get rather costly, as each color runs on a separate printing plate. On top of that, the different colors in your design will not blend evenly.  

And when is the full color printing process the best option?

Full color printing is the most used form of printing. Chances are that most of the labels, stickers, decals and business cards you have come across were printed using this technique. It is the most versatile and scalable way to print custom products. 

This makes this process perfect for your die cut labels or logo stickers as it allows you to combine numerous colors that can be blended and shaded just how you want them, at no extra cost. 


If you are after single colored designs and really need to hit your brand color, spot color printing is a great option for you. However, if your design is more complex, including shading and blending, choose a digital printing process like full color printing. 

We hope this little guide was helpful and cleared up some of the confusion around different ways of printing. If you have experience with both methods and would like to share your tips, let us know in the comments below. 

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