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Print Graphics - Pantone Colour Guides. Needed? What to buy?

Discussion in 'Printing & Print Design Forum:' started by global001, Dec 7, 2010.

  1. global001

    global001 Junior Member

    To ensure the colours I'm using in my designs are the same as the colours which print out at the professional printers I'm going to have to purchase some Pantone Guides (I assume) and I have a few questions about it.

    1. Which ones should I buy? I've listed below all the different kinds which weren't obvious (like CMYK, pastels and metallic) found on their website. I'm completely confused. What is 'Color Bridge', 'Formula', 'Solid Chips' and 'Essentials'? Are these different colour printing techniques? Is CMYK different from Litho printing colours? I thought when you sent a file to the printers that they should all be CMYK colour separated?

    2. I read on a old 2009 post that some graphic designers don't use Pantone Color Guides. How do they know that what they see on the screen will be exactly whats printed out? I use Pantone's Huey Pro to calibrate my screen but I think naturally I'd still need the guides to be able to see what the colour will look like printed professionally. Am I'm out of touch of latest developments in colour printing where these are no longer necessary?

    3. Also as they're very expensive, in the mean time is there anywhere in London such as a library where I could go to view the appropriate guides?

    Many thanks

    CMYK Coated & Uncoated Set
    COLOR BRIDGE® Coated
    COLOR BRIDGE® Uncoated
    COLOR BRIDGE® Coated & Uncoated Set

    FORMULA GUIDE Solid Coated & Solid Uncoated
    SOLID CHIPS Coated & Uncoated (2-book set)
    COLOR BRIDGE® Coated
    COLOR BRIDGE® Uncoated
    COLOR BRIDGE® Coated & Uncoated Set

    SOLID Guide Set
  2. I've only ever referred to Pantone Coated and Uncoated numbers (eg. PMS032C or PMS032U), but then I've never had a job that needed metallic colours.

    I have one each of these books, kindly sold to me by a printer friend. They're a few years old but in very good condition. They do fade over time with use.

    Litho is the printing technique and CMYK refers to the inks used. This is NOT the same as the Pantone colours; These are pre-prepared inks which can be mixed by the printer to get a specific colour - think buying a tin of paint from B&Q having a particular name.

    Litho can use CMYK and/or Pantone inks to print your job. Presses are capable of printing multiple colours, ie. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5- (ad naseum) colour presses.

    I think before you jump into swatch books do some research on printing and colour systems to get a good foundation understanding as you seem a bit confused - it will help in the long run! There's tons of stuff online.
  3. rossnorthernunion

    rossnorthernunion Senior Member

    Not really.

    The CMYK process is a method of printing color by using the four inks—cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. The vast majority of the world's printed material is produced using the CMYK process, and there is a special subset of Pantone colors that can be reproduced using CMYK. Those that are possible to simulate through the CMYK process are labeled as such within the company's guides - i.e the Pantone 'breakdown'.

    Also i don't know of many presses capable of printing too many 'spot' colours in addition to the CMYK printing process, every spot color needs its own lithographic film. All the areas of the same spot color are printed using the same film, hence, using the same lithographic plate. Most i've used before on on a print job has been 2 'spots' in addition to the process. Ain't come across much more than that before.
  4. I agree, but was trying to explain that the Pantone Matching System colours (ie PMS032) cannot be reproduced using CMYK, instead it is a specific colour to maintain colour accuracy as closely as possible. But yes, there is a Pantone CMYK system, but due the amount of variation depending on the printer, press, plates, substrate etc resulting in unpredictable colour results make printing a Pantone colour with CMYK inks highly unreliable! So where possible, one should spec a Pantone instead of a process.

    No, including process. CMYK + 2 spots for example = 6 colour press. I'm sure I've heard about a printer using 8 colour presses, but not sure. I frequently used to spec 3 or 4 corporate spots when I designed for packaging, not including black.

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