Setup for Print-Ready Separations Files (Spot UV, Foil, Emboss)

If you are ordering one of our specialty products or print finishes, you will need to set up your design files appropriately for this.

File setup for these print finishes can be a complex process and should be completed by an experienced designer. If you would like the Jukebox Print Design Department to create your Spot UV design, please request Design Services.

Several products use the same setup process below, including:

  • Spot UV
  • Embossing
  • Debossing
  • Foiling


In the following article, we will use setup separations for the Spot UV business card shown below – note the Spot UV glossiness over the cat illustration on the front, and the stripes on the back in Spot UV.

Step 1: CMYK Files

Follow the guidelines for setting up regular CMYK files. Some products (such as Premium Black) will not have CMYK files – if ordering one of those products, you may skip this step.

Export a press-ready PDF file for the front and back CMYK printing of the card, front and back. These files should have "Front" and "Back" at the end of the file name (for the front and back respectively). These files will not include any details for the additional print treatment.






Step 2: Define Separation/s

For this step, we will create a black and white file for the separation. This can be done in many ways in your design program – by setting up new layers, defining a new artboard (new page) or creating a separate file.

The areas for treatment (spot UV, foil, emboss etc.) will need to be defined in black ink, and areas for no treatment will be white. The black colour used must be CMYK Black only – with no grey colours, or other inks.

For the best outcome, and easiest process, we recommend creating the design in vector-format - such as in Illustrator or InDesign (mandatory for embossing, debossing and foil files). Spot UV file creation in a pixel-based format (such as Photoshop), but can become difficult. 

K100 Black

CMYK: 0, 0, 0, 100


Step 3: Export Separation

We suggest double-checking the alignment of the separation to the original CMYK artwork (created in the previous step) before proceeding.

Export each separation as a press-ready PDF file. Use the following naming conventions for your files:

Type File Name Example (Front)
Spot UV UV Set1_Front_UV.pdf
Emboss EMBOSS Set1_Front_EMBOSS.pdf
Deboss DEBOSS Set1_Front_DEBOSS.pdf
Foiling FOIL_[colour] Set1_Front_FOIL_Gold.pdf

Each different treatment will need to be defined in a different separation file. For example, if you are setting up one order for Spot UV and embossing, you will need UV and EMBOSS files. For multiple sets, use the same naming convention but change the set number as appropriate (ie. “Set2_Front.pdf”, "Set2_Back.pdf" etc.).

If you are only ordering a treatment on one side of your card, only supply the front file for UV, EMBOSS, DEBOSS or FOIL (ensure any corresponding CMYK artwork is also set up on the Front.pdf file).






For this example, there are four files generated:

  1. Cats_Set1_Front.pdf
  2. Cats_Set1_Front_UV.pdf
  3. Cats_Set1_Back.pdf
  4. Cats_Set1_Back_UV.pdf

Step 4: Upload to order

Ensure you upload all the files into your order for printing. See: How do I upload files?

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