Sawgrass Sublijet - HD FLEX (Fluorescent & Expanded Gamut) ink set:

To take spot colour printing to the next level, Sawgrass has introduced the FLEX ink set to our Sublijet-HD series. The basic principle of FLEX is to expand the colour gamut's range of achievable spot colours with the addition of Orange, Blue, Fluorescent Yellow and Fluorescent Pink inks to the traditional CMYK. Expanded gamut printing, sometimes referred to as High Fidelity or HiFi Printing, is not a new concept, although the adoption of this print process is becoming rapidly popular

An 8-colour HiFi print process aids in achieving many colours the standard CMYK printer could not produce in the typical CMYK colour gamut. The SJ-HD FLEX ink set enables the Sawgrass VJ-628 printers to produce a broader colour spectrum to accurately match a range of spot colours that a traditional CMYK printer could not.

Sawgrass has provided you with 96 Spot colours on a palette as a reference for the Printer & Designer displaying expanded gamut and fluorescent  examples. After installing the Wasatch SoftRIP media configuration, print the "Sawgrass_FLEX_SPOT_ColorPALETTE.PDF" located in the SG_FLEX_SpotColors folder that was included with the Sawgrass Wasatch SoftRIP installer for the SJ-HD FLEX inks. Press the Sawgrass swatch colour palette to use as a reference to help you get started.

NOTE: Vector based files such as a PDF or EPS as well as DCS2.0 EPS files that include Alpha Channels will print specified SPOT colours with the Sawgrass FLEX ink sets. Sawgrass has verified these file types to work with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Corel Draw. Compatibility with other applications used for graphic design, print design, vector graphics and/or photo manipulation applications have not been verified within Sawgrass.

What is a Spot Colour?

A Spot Colour refers to a solid colour printed with its own ink. Spot Colours are colour / Ink specific colours that reference specific colour swatches from colours books, paint chips, and/or corporate colours. In large format printing and dye-sublimation, a spot colour is a calculated blend (done by the print operator through RIP & print software) of CMYK plus expanded gamut (where needed) is concluded to achieve solid colours like those in logos, fonts, vector artwork, textile patterns or anywhere else here the print design is colour specific. This allows the printer to produce a specified spot colour each time, on different platforms (when calibrated), duplicating that specific spot colour each and every time it is specified in the file's artwork.

Difference between Spot & Process colours:

Process colours also referred to as full colour, 4 colour or CMYK, and uses a blend of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black inks to achieve the full colour spectrum. To accomplish the printed image, each ink is printed through separate "plates" to create a blended CMYK dot pattern to complete the image. Process colours are usually used to print photographs or raster files that are composed of a multitude of pixels to create the overall image. With RIP printing software, unless specified, all .jpg, .tiff, .png or any other raster base imaging files are printed as process colours.

The use of spot colours is devised to ensure colours are always accurate and remain constant across various projects or substrates. Spot colours will most likely be called out and specified in vector art/ graphics where colour accuracy like those in logos are of highest importance.

On a production stance, spot colours are output to their own "plates" for press/image setters because they are designed to be printed with specific ink designated in the file. Spot colours do not separate to CMYK process colours unless specifically told to.

There may be instances when both process and spot colour print methods will be essential for the same print file. This may happen when, for example, you have to print a poster where you have to reproduce the exact company logo colour with vector art / graphics overlays with a photograph.

In this instance, the post colours are applied to the logo, or vector graphics and process colours are applied to the other elements of the file that are not spot colour specific.

Print using a combination of Spot & Process Color


Spot colour & Vector Art (Left), Process color CMYK image (right)


Applying the Sawgrass FLEX palette

Open or place the PDF in a vector based edition design application such as Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw & use the eyedropper to choose the colors for your selected vector object.

NOTE: Sawgrass recommends vector design based software such as Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw which allow you to specify and assign spot colours. Photoshop also allows the use of spot colours through Alpha-channels. Links for these software specific instructions can be found below.

SPOT COLOUR replacement links


Illustrator / Adobe help: 

Illustrator Swatches overview:

How to use spot colours in Illustrator: 

Saving & loading Swatches in Illustrator: 

Photoshop / adobe help: To print images from adobe Photoshop containing spot channels, you must save the file as a DCS2.0 EPS.

Printing Spot Colours in Photoshop: 

DCS 2.0 Files: 

Corel Draw Colour Styles / Colour Swatches: 

Note for Corel Draw Users: On the "Colour" tab of the PDF settings, by default all colour will output as CMYK, but you can change it to "Native" especially if you are using Spot colours. Always activate the option to embed Colour Profile. If you use custom overprints on your document, dont forget to leave this option active (its enabled by default).