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Caldwell Marcom
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How to Match PMS uncoated to a PMS coated color

Jan 17, 2012 8:46 AM

Tags: #color_management_problem #color_conversion

I am looking for help on how to match a PMS uncoated color to closely match a PMS coated color.  I know this may sound counter intuitive but here is the situation.


I work for a company that has a corporate color of PMS 285.  Their product comes in uncoated kraft cardboard boxes and when we switched the color to the PMS 285 U they freaked out with the color change.  A bit too pastel and hard to read.  They want a color (PMS 285C) that matches what they get on nice shiny, coated marketing collateral.  How can I closely match a color that will be printed on an uncoated material to an ideal coated PMS color?


Hope this makes since.  Thank you for your help.



  • Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 9, 2012 2:45 PM   in reply to Caldwell Marcom

    There is a trick I use in Photoshop sometimes. Click on the Color Picker in the Tools. In Color Libraries, go to Solid Coated 285. Then change the Library to Solid Uncoated.


    The result is PMS 300 U. It is not a great match by any means, but it is probably the closest match Solid Uncoated has to offer.


    Uncoated paper has a tremendous effect on ink appearance, that is why the 285U is so washed out compared to 285C.


    Every Pantone color has a Lab definition, which you can see in the Photoshop libraries. What Photoshop is doing is seeing what color in the Uncoated library has the closest Lab equivalent to 285C. 285C is L46, a-4, b-58. 300 U is L43, a-8, b-49.


    The L values is fairly close, but the other values present problems. A in Lab moves from green(-) to magenta (+), with 0 being neutral (neither green nor magenta). Because a in 300U is -8, and in 285C the a is -4, 300U is moving just a little more towards green (not a lot, but a little)


    The b value is a bigger problem. B in Lab goes from blue(-) to yellow(+), with 0 being neutral. The b value in 285C is -58, while the b in 300U is -49. This means that 300U is significantly "grayer" (less colorful) than 285C. But again, 300U may be your best bet on uncoated paper.


    Your other option is to look through an Pantone Uncoated swatch book and choose a color that you think is best for your purposes.


    Hope this helps.

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