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Pantone Reflex Blue

Discussion in 'Printing & Print Design Forum:' started by SmileBCS, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. SmileBCS

    SmileBCS New Member

    I have a job where a customer is complaining about a colour.

    I received a logo file with a pantone colour ref- as above.

    It has been interpreted an 100,82,0,2, but the client insists that it should be 100,73,0,2 from a pantone chart. The artwork was signed off and went to print.

    As much as a "how do I solve this" I'm asking, why the different codes?
  2. Arhiann

    Arhiann Member

    Because it's subjective. You will get different results from different programs, and reflex blue tends to come out a bit purple. There is no definitive CMYK value though.

    That's why we have spot colours after all, to represent a colour that can't be printed as CMYK.
  3. SmileBCS

    SmileBCS New Member

    So a Pantone colour reference, or series of, in 4 colour printing is a no-no. unless its 5 colour (with Reflex Blue as 5th colour)

    How do you normally deal with a pantone colour reference from a customer, make an approximation , tell them it'll cost x2 (x3), both?
  4. Arhiann

    Arhiann Member

    There are some spot colours you can get pretty darn close to, possibly to the extent that a layman may not notice a difference.

    If colour is critical, and with a spot colour it frequently is, be careful. They may be happy for the RIP to convert the spot on the fly (cue different results from different RIPS), but they may not. I had the opposite problem recently; a client queried a job because my spot printing was different to his CMYK printing he had previously. Three experienced heads looked at it and were of the opinion that it was precisely the correct pantone, and the CMYK conversion was wrong. There was no argument because it's a pantone reference.

    The point of a pantone reference is to have a fixed point that we can't argue over; it either is or it isn't. One of the issues with CMYK is that in the hands of someone inexperienced, you can get different results from the same file by changing press, operator, inks etc. IMHO it's not an exact science, but it's pretty close, that's why we have colour profiles (whether CMYK or Pantone).

    To answer your question regarding pricing, I print it in a spot colour and charge accordingly. I don't really do short run CMYK as there's no money in it any more (I guess that's what you are doing here)
  5. SparkCreative

    SparkCreative Member

    Tell him to change his logo colour. Reflex blue is horrible! ;)

    It is a really difficult colour to match in CMYK though. I tend to only go for colours that will split nicely when I'm doing corporate IDs etc.
  6. steverushton

    steverushton New Member

    Blimey... you are a rarity in the design world :icon_lol:

    Reflex Blue is a nightmare.. as you mention... the CMYK breakdowns can even vary between pantone books (we had an example of this last week). Besides... the 2 values mentioned at the beginning of the thread are so small that most wouldn't notice... and the weights run on the print press are more likely to be the issue.
  7. SparkCreative

    SparkCreative Member

    lol yep. One of my best mates from school went into printing, so I always got an ear bashing off him for years about designers speccing things that couldn't be printed. Which means I try not to do that. It also helps that I can just about remember the days before Macs, so I have a little bit of an understanding of the physical processes involved. I'm old school, me.
  8. steverushton

    steverushton New Member

    You mean...

    you have felt the weight of dozens of baseboard artworks required to print a brochure
    you remember transparencies
    you can use a scalpel
    you remember fondly the smell of spraymount
    you remember when 4 colour process was more expensive than spot colour work

    ... I could go on!
  9. SparkCreative

    SparkCreative Member

    Ahhh... the smell of spraymount. And the taste. And the feel of it stuck all over you and your office before those Health & Safety wimps bought in spray booths... Maybe the old days weren't all that good after all...
  10. dogsbody

    dogsbody Member

    Mmmm spraymount:icon_lol:
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  12. kubed

    kubed New Member

    Have struggled in the past with pantone blues and reliable results throughout different media. Just designing a new identity for someone and need a nice reliable 'Royal Blue' any positive experiences with specific Pantone blues?!? Was just about to use Ref Blue - but might not now :)
  13. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    If you have a Pantone 'bridge' guide it will show you the Pantone colours and their CMYK splits... very, very useful.

    Reflex blue had to have a change of ingredients many years back - as it had a carciginious ingredient and was never the same again. Once bought two tins of ink that were different Reflex blues!

    I'm old(er) school - I remember Cow Gum - that made you high!!
  14. kubed

    kubed New Member

    Haha :) Sounds like what I need right now!!!

    Yes I have the Pantone Colour Bridge Guide / coated euro . . . and to all intents Ref Blue cmyk equiv. doesn't look too bad in this swatch - but everyone is saying it's a nightmare?!?! Just wondered if anyone had worked regularly with a particular pantone blue that they might be able to suggest is a good alternative?!??!

  15. Katedesign

    Katedesign Well-Known Member

    PMS 661 I have used with success - is much closer on my bridge than reflex.
  16. Problem blues often come about when the numbers are applied in the wrong space. When you get the four CMYK numbers that your book tells you make up Reflex Blue - make sure you know WHICH CMYK you're talking about. If you're taking the FOGRA39 CMYK numbers and dropping them into the US Web Coated SWOP CMYK space that AdobeCS ships with as the default, then your colour is going to be VERY dull and very wrong.
  17. RichyLad

    RichyLad New Member

    As a former colour film planner we always used 100c 80m for reflex blue. If that helps.
    Oh and I have 2 pantone books and some of the colours are not the same in both..
  18. Some food for thought for you:

    The specific output numbers will depend on machine/ink/media combination. But that really isn't a designers concern.

    There are two ways to accurately specify Reflex Blue in a design.

    1) Using Postscript labelling - use the built in Pantone Swatch book, and leave it as a Spot. Save in a file type that supports Postscript. (There are some headaches with this where transparency layers and effects are involved, but the theory is right!)
    2) Work in a colour space that is large enough to encompass Reflex Blue. (HINT: The default AdobeCS CMYK space does not.)

    If you create an artwork in the default CS CMYK space (US Web Coated SWOP) then it doesn't matter what combination of CMYK percentages you use - you can't specify reflex, because it's not within the gamut of US Web Coated SWOP. You'll bash your head against that for ever.

    So there are two places that you can lose your reflex blue.

    1) Manage to specify it correctly, but then try and have it printed on a machine/ink/media combination that can't reach it.
    2) Fail to specify it correctly, and have the dull blue colour you actually specified printed on a machine that could have hit reflex blue if only you'd actually asked for it.

    This applies to all sorts of colours that push the gamut of some output devices. That's actually the core logic behind the work I do with customers advocating a large gamut workflow. Start with something that lets you specify all the colours you could possibly want, and then look at the limitations of the production methods for the application of your design. Rather than start with something that limits the colours to a small selection well within the capabilities of most current production methods. That's what those designing within the confines of the AdobeCS default spaces are doing. (whether they know it or not.) If you've never changed the defaults... this means you!

    This 1st article is about this subject - RGB or CMYK? The CMYK habit discussed! | Hudson Don't be put off that it's discussing RGB vs CMYK - the point is really about designing within a large gamut rather than limiting unnecessarily in a small one.

    This 2nd article is the theory put to practical use - Hudson's Edge - Colour Space | Hudson

    Don't get too hung up on the percentages you specify in the artwork UNLESS you understand the answer to "the percentages of what exactly?" They're just percentages, they mean nothing at all on their own.

    Hope that's useful to someone. If any designer wants to test these ideas and report on this forum what they find, I'll be happy to oblige. Message me.
    Stationery Direct likes this.

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