4 Replies Latest reply on Jan 24, 2014 5:02 PM by Steve Fairbairn

    A few questions about Patone colors


      I have a few questions about patone colors since this is the first time I use them. I want to use them to create a letterhead and business cards in two colors.



      I do understand that the uncoated is more washed out than the coated patone colors. I heard that this is because the way paper absorbs the inkt. This is why the same inkt results in different colors on different paper (right?). My question is why is the patone uncoated black so much different than normal black (c=0 m=0 y=0 k=100) or rich black:


      When I print a normal document with cmyk, I can get pretty dark black colors. Why is it that I cannot have that dark black color with patone colors? Even text documents printed on a cheap printer can get a darker color than the Patone color. It just looks way too grey for me.


      2) For a first mockup, I want to print the patone colors as cmyk (since I put like 10 different colors on a page for fast comparison). I know that these cmyk colors differ from the patone colors and that I cannot get a 100% representation. But is there a way to convert patone to cmyk values?


      I hope that some of you can help me out with my questions.


        • 1. Re: A few questions about Patone colors
          jdanek Level 4

          1. )  Believe it or not, some people specify Pantone Black because it appears differently than Process Black.  Light bounces off paper ( reflectance ).  The same Black will appear darker because less light is reflected on a coated sheet.  You can achieve a rich Black on an uncoated sheet, but it will not appear the same as rich Black on a coated sheet.


          2.)  Most print drivers have a hard time converting spot colors and/or do not have the lookup tables to do the conversion.  So, in order to give a fairly decent representation of the spot color, you should use the perecentages found in Pantone's Solid-to-Process guide book.  I like using the printed reference because it gives me both the spot color version and what it will look like in CMYK.  You could also do a conversion in Illustrator by loading the spot color swatch in the color palette and then select the triangle next to the color field.  You could also build your own CMYK percentages and do a comparison text to see if your version is closer to the spot version using your printer and your paper.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: A few questions about Patone colors
            DrStrik9 Level 4

            You can get Pantone's CMYK tints in Illustrator, (Swatches Panel > Open Swatch Library > Color Books > PANTONE+ Color Bridge Coated or Uncoated) but in my view, what's the point?  If you're printing to a digital printer, just use RGB (HSB) or CMYK. Personally, I never use Pantone's CMYK so-called "equivalents."


            Pantone colors are all mixed pigmented inks, many of which fluoresce beyond the gamut limits of RGB and especially CMYK. The original Pantone Matching System (PMS) was created for the printing industry. It outlined pigmented ink formulations for each of its colors.


            Most digital printers (laser or inkjet) use CMYK. The CMYK color gamut is MUCH SMALLER than what many mixed inks, printed on either coated or uncoated papers can deliver. When you specify non-coated Pantone ink in AI, according to Pantone's conversion tables, AI tries to "approximate" what that color will look like on an uncoated sheet, using CMYK. -- In my opinion, this has little relevance to real-world conditions, and is to be avoided in most situations.


            If your project is going to be printed on a printing press with spot Pantone inks, then by all means, use Pantone colors. But don't trust the screen colors; rather get a Pantone swatch book and look at the actual inks on both coated and uncoated papers, according to the stock you will use on the press.


            With the printing industry rapidly dwindling in favor of the web and inkjet printers, Pantone has attempted to extend its relevance beyond the pull-date by publishing (in books and in software alliances, with such as Adobe) its old PMS inks, and their supposed LAB and CMYK equivalents. I say "supposed" because again, RGB monitors and CMYK inks can never be literally equivalent to many Pantone inks. But if you're going to print your project on a printing press, Pantone inks are still very relevant as "spot colors."


            I also set my AI Preferences > Appearance of Black to both Display All Blacks Accurately, and Output All Blacks Accurately. The only exception to this might be when printing on a digital printer, where there should be no registration issues.


            Rich black in AI is a screen phenomenon, unless in Prefs > Appearance of Black, you also specify "Output All Inks As Rich Black," -- something I would NEVER do if outputting for an actual printing press. I always set my blacks in AI to "Output All Blacks Acurately" when outputting for a press. If you fail to do this, then on the press you will see any minor registration problems, with C, M, and Y peeking out, especially around black type.  UGH!


            Good luck!  :+)

            • 3. Re: A few questions about Patone colors
              Ernoo Level 1

              Thanks for the replies.


              I was trying to use pantone colors because I am planning to only use two colors, and was thinking that is was economically better to use pantone colors when large quantities shoud be pressed. I only wanted to print on a digital printer for one time, to show a mockup of different colors. But I see now that that's not a good idea when I use pantone colors.


              So is it not a better way to use pantone colors nowadays (with the use of digital printers?).


              Anyway, I have no problems with my black colors in cmyk and show and output all my black colors accurately.  It was only the pantone black that looks so dull compared to any other black. Actually quite strange if the gamut is smaller with cmyk. I would have thought that there should be a really black color (but aparently thats only possible on coated paper).


              Anyway i might check  a pantone swatch book to see if I can find a good colotr otherwise I might just go back to cmyk.



              • 4. Re: A few questions about Patone colors
                Steve Fairbairn Level 5

                You are on the wrong course.


                Digital printers use CMYK or sometimes CcMmYyKk.

                So you are not saving anything by using spot colours. they will just get converted to process.

                On the other hand if you were using offset, letterpress, flexo or gravure that would be another kettle of fish entirely.