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Colour conversions


Junior Member
I was hoping someone could give me some pointers on what most people do with regards converting colours from Pantone to CMYK and RGB. I have got myself a bit confused by what the standard industry way is as there appears to be loads of options.
Does one simply use:
a) Pantone Colour Bridge Swatch book
b) in software convert Pantone solid coated to cmyk
c) use software Pantone solid to process EURO swatch
d) use software Pantone color bridge CMYK EC swatch
e) use software Pantone color bridge CMYK PC swatch
f) use software Pantone color bridge CMYK UP swatch

any advice or pointers on this would be much appreciated.


Tom Sound

Active Member
The colour standard is the pantone matching system so if you are getting work printed this is how you should specify critical colours to whoever outputs your work.

A litho printer would print a pantone colour as a spot colour to be 100% accurate.

A digital printer would either rely on his RIP software to convert your spot colour to a 4 colour breakdown or manually colour match to achieve the nearest possible colour. I say nearest possible as it's just not possible to hit all pantone colours with 4 colour digital printing, especially in inkjet printing. However, most inkjet printers have 6 colours now, CMYK plus a light magenta and light cyan to broaden the gamut. Some even have a bright green and bright orange to help with the more fluro end of the scale.

If you are setting jobs up and have the budget to pay a litho printer to print a spot colour on a job set it up as a pantone. If not save it as CMYK colour by using the colour bridge swatch book and choosing the closest colour.

The most important thing is to specify the colour and get a proof before the job is run.

As for RGB, I have no idea



Active Member
Hi smtm,

I only tend to use pantone solid coated.

To find the correct CMYK values of a pantone colour you should reffer to a Pantone reference book. You can convert pantone colours to cmyk in indesign/photoshop etc but theses are not always very accurate.

Some pantone colours can be easily replecated in cmyk and others not so, for example an orange pantone will be near impossible to reproduce cmyk.

If a company has strict corporate colours using pantones and you are getting something litho printed CMYK then reffer to a swatch book and use its values.

If you are printing digitally provide the files in pantone colours and their rip will reproduce the pantone colour more accurately than if you converted it to CMYK yourself.

You can always provide a printed sample to a printers to match also if your unsure?

Hope that helps