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Pantone colours

Discussion in 'Printing & Print Design Forum:' started by ChessterButtonworth, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. ChessterButtonworth

    ChessterButtonworth New Member


    I usually work with CMYK or RGB colours but have heard a few people mention the use of pantone colour codes and providing a 3 digit number for that specific pantone. Can anybody tell me how I would specify a pantone colour using a program such as illustrator or photoshop.

  2. andybdesign

    andybdesign Active Member


    It's pretty easy to specify Pantone colours. This is how you would do it in Illustrator. Then pick from the swatches.

    Have a chat with your printers as well to let them know which Pantone inks you're planning on using.

    Also, Pantone references aren't always a 3 digit number.

    Hope that helps.
  3. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    You need to make clients aware that printing in pantone colours is often much more expensive than printing in cmyk.
  4. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    But if they want certain colours - orange for example - that will not print very well in CMYK. Also you should get yourself a Pantone swatch (probably a 'bridge' - which shows Pantone colours next to CMYK).
  5. andybdesign

    andybdesign Active Member

    Great point Kate. You can see this in the photo below.


    The CMYK orange is nowhere near as bright as the Pantone Orange 021.

    Pantone colours are great for adding things you simply can't achieve with CMYK inks. Like fluorescent colours or metallic inks:


    Depending on your printers, Pantone inks can be cheaper if you use less. So 3 Pantone inks might work out cheaper than 4 process colours (CMYK).
  6. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    Yes Andy, it depends on the press the printers have/are using. Most printers with a four colour press will want to keep it in CMYK but a two colour press will (almost inevitably) be a smaller press and will be constantly changing colours and should be used for spot colour work. A 5 or 6 colour press will use one of the 'spare' heads for varnish/seal or a spot colour.
  7. gprovan

    gprovan Member

    You mention that you usually work in RGB or CMYK. Using Pantone or spot colours is an entirely different workflow and you'll have to make sure that the specified colour comes out the way intended. You can check this in separations preview. :thumb:
  8. spottypenguin

    spottypenguin Active Member

    Ironically at an old job where it was 4 colour presses, a lady came in with her business card that was Pantone 021 so a very bright orange. We explained it was CMYK so she would see some colour shift, wouldn't be as vivid etc. but since the cards were on offer she went for it. The CMYK print actually came out stronger / brighter than her previous spot job!

    .. but obviously all presses can vary etc.

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