2 Replies Latest reply on May 17, 2013 8:49 AM by weareobsidian

    Understanding Pantone and Reproduction



      I'm starting to do a lot of print collateral at work, and just have a few questions to make sure I understand things correctly.


      At the moment, I'm designing some letterhead. I'm using spot colors for this, specifically Pantone 426M, which comes from our new style guide. Now, in CS6, there are no "Matte" swatch books available, there is only Pantone+ Coated and Uncoated (excluding all the metallics, CMYK, et cetera). In order to actually get the 426M, I have to cut and paste a piece of geometry from the style guide and pull it in to InDesign or Illustrator to be able to have a swatch that is specifically "426M." So, question 1) Is the Pantone Matte color book a legacy library I can load in some how? Or 2) Is Pantone+ Uncoated/Coated the way to roll at this point?


      Also, in the attached image, I have a DRASTIC shift in 426 swatches in both 426U and 426C. One is about a 65% grey, the other is closer 95%, respectively. As I understand it, the actual ink in 426 is the same, but because of the substrate, they will appear differently. Is that correct? If not, what else would explain the drastic shift?




      Swatch Shift-01.jpg

        • 1. Re: Understanding Pantone and Reproduction
          John Danek Level 4

          I just took a look at my Pantone printed swatch books.  I have the matte paper reference guide, but interestingly, the color name is 426C not 426M.  Now, I also looked up the reference color in the uncoated book and the coated book.  The darkest sample is found in the coated book, the next closest version to the coated is the matte which only slightly lighter than the coated version.  This differs from your diagram above where you have 426M as the darkest color.  Now, my uncoated sample is similar to yours and looks a bit off because it is not even close to the matte and/or the coated versions.  This could be an error ( nobody's perfect and that includes Pantone ).  That said, all Spot formulas for 426 are exactly the same ( 12pts Pantone Black; 4pts Pantone Reflex Blue ).  So, it may not be important to use the Pantone 426M reference swatch via older applications.  Again, Pantone shows a reference name in their matte paper sampler as 426C, not 426M.  The uncoated version is named 426U.  Now, it is possible that that Pantone spot color formula could very well print lighter on uncoated paper and it may be an artifact you have to live with.  The alternative is finding another uncoated swatch that matches closer to the coated and matte versions...like a Pantone 7547U, but it appears all uncoated colors are much weaker than the 426C.  And, looking at their printed guides, Pantone 424C = 3pts Pantone Black, 1pt Pantone Reflex Blue, 14pts Pantone transparent White; Pantone 425C = 6pts Pantone Black, 2pts Pantone Reflex Blue, 8pts Pantone Transp. White; Pantone 426C = 12pts Pantone Black, 4pts Pantone Reflex Blue and no transparent White.  The formula doubles with each number in the zone, but I wonder if they added a transparent White of 3pts it would lighten the 426C more in lie with the color zone in their printed sampler book.  You might want to ask Pantone if their formula is correct and why they didn't retain any White in the formula for 426C as it is in 424C and 425C.

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          • 2. Re: Understanding Pantone and Reproduction
            weareobsidian Level 1


            Thanks for your response. My concern now is, what will my color reproduction be like. If I am printing letterhead, on a matte stock, then will my repro be more like the 65% grey, or will it be closer to the 90%? This sort of stuff stresses me out. It's not a huge deal when a shift is minor (in this case), but it's pretty major if it's that extreme of a difference.