How to Customize Packaging with Spot UV

When designing custom packaging or boxes there are certain varnishes and finishes that are go-to's in order to achieve a custom look and feel. One of the most popular and effective techniques is applying spot UV varnish. In this post, we are reviewing the different styles of spot varnishes and examples of packaging that demonstrate best practices of the spot UV varnish. The concept and reasoning behind spot UV are simple, it makes images, colors, and applied areas of the packaging pop when applied over them. Spot treatments are often used to create a hierarchy, highlight important features/benefits, or add subtle textures/patterns to the background of packaging. In this post, we will feature some of our favorite uses of spot UV as well as the different types of spot treatments that can be used on packaging.

Spot Gloss UV

A spot gloss UV is easily the most common type of varnish treatment used in printing and packaging and for good reason. This application is inexpensive and when properly used adds a tremendous amount of dimension to a flat surface. This type of spot is applied similarly to a screen print on top of an image or text and can be shaped to match the exact design it is being applied over. One thing to watch out for is small detailed artwork or type as the line registration of spot UV is not as crisp as a traditional ink press and you may have some slight variance on the edges.

Spot UV is also commonly applied on top of images or graphics to highlight or make the image pop. This is the most common use for the varnish on all types of product packaging.



Stance Basilone Underwear Packaging

No Ink or Blind Spot UV

No ink spot UV refers to the times when spot UV is being applied directly to the paper in place of a colored ink. This technique creates a subtle look because there is no contrasting ink being applied and reacts very well to being viewed from different angles.

goal zer vip packaging
goal zer vip packaging

Sand Paper or Glitter Spot UV

In addition to the traditional spot gloss varnish, there is also the sand paper or glitter spot UV that is used to create a gritty texture on the surface of packaging. This type of varnish is used to create visual contrast much like a spot gloss but also impacts another sense by adding a tactile experience when holding and interacting with the packaging.A tactile experience can be just as important as a visual one and the more sense that packaging can trigger the more of an impactful experience that packaging will have on potential customers. A good case study for this is Victoria's Secret packaging. They know this trick all too well and use it across much of their retail packaging for fragrances and gift boxes. The fragrance packaging, in particular, is extremely impactful as they engage 3 of 6 senses (look, touch, and smell) in one package, this is approach has great sticking power with consumers and increases the chances of a purchase. Another customization that VS uses with the spot UV sandpaper is using metallic sand to create the striped effect on the front of the boxes below.

goal zer vip packaging
goal zer vip packaging

Additional Spot Varnish Techniques

The spot UV varnishes don't stop there we have only reviewed the most popular treatments that we use with our clients the most frequently. Additional spot treatments include:
- Tinted with pigment added to give the spot UV a color
- Raised
- Thermography
- Glow in the dark

Ready to start your next project?

All of the images in this post are examples of Process AG client work. To see how you can incorporate Spot UV into your next packaging design email or call us to review with a packaging expert.