Are Pantone CMYK process colour swatches the best way to choose colours?


New Member
Hi everyone,

What the best way to pick colours when starting a project and be sure that print out as you envisioned & hoped? Is picking colours from Pantone swatches and using the CMYK process colour values the safest way? I notice the Pantone swatches have Printing Notes, but it's all far too complex for me - are these industry standard?

I recently graduated from University and was never taught any of this and have no one I can ask in person. I know l'll never get an exact replica of colours, but what's the best way to go? I ask because on my printer at home (which is admittedly not great) prints the colours a lot more washed out than the Pantone swatches would suggest (closer to how my screen, which is calibrated, displays the colour). I'm trying to get my portfolio finished and want to nail the colours down as much as possible before I spend money on printing!

I'd really appreciate any insight into how you chose colours at the start of a project. It's holding me back at the moment,

Thank you.
Sorry for the self bump.

I just wanted to mention this is what my Pantone book looks like, so it has a CMYK equiv. It's this that I'm wondering how accurate it is for most printers (given Pantones printing notes at the front of the book)?:

The pantone process books come in different flavours I believe. If you check the small print on the front couple of pages you'll find which CMYK your book is in. If you have a FOGRA39 book the CMYK numbers it gives you will be the closest FOGRA39 CMYK match to the pantone. If you have a USWebCoatedSWOP book the CMYK numbers it gives you will be the closest SWOP CMYK match to the pantone. And yes... the same colour will be represented by different CMYK numbers in each book. Choosing pantone colours, and working with the pantone spot colours (built into AdobceCS/swatches/color books etc... is the safest way of getting the colours you want. Converting to CMYK at the design stage wouldn't be my recommendation.