2 Replies Latest reply on Apr 12, 2015 2:04 PM by jdanek

    What swatches to use?

    dane66812335

      Hey guys

       

      I'm a sign maker although I am now starting to get more and more printing and web design work. To make the colours more consistent throughout the process I am only now just starting to use pantone colours but I am confused with what swatches to use.

       

      I'm sure this question has been asked a 1000 times before and it doesn't matter what I read or who I speak to, I always get a different answer so I am here to hopefully get a bit of clarity on it.

       

      Can someone please confirm what I already know to be true and help me start using pantone swatches correctly.

       

      Firstly, there are 2 types of swatches, coated and uncoated, which one to use depends on the paper... correct?

       

      HOWEVER: I have spoken to other designers and they tell me to forget uncoated and just use coated even on uncoated papers??

       

      Then there are the different types of swatches, Pantone + Solid, Pantone +  Bridge, Pantone +  Formula Guide, from what I understand, the 'Coated swatches' are for when you use pantone colours, the majority of us won't need this swatch as we tend to print only in CMYK which is where I understand the Bridge Swatch comes into effect, this shows us what it will print like in CMYK, but what about signing for web, do we then stay with the bridge swatch or do we go back to the solid swatch.

       

      HOWEVER: Another designer has told me to use the solid 'coated' swatches and convert them to CMYK, the CMYK output will represent what's in the bridge, but then what's the point in the bridge swatches in adobe?

       

      There is too much confusion on this and I want to get this right from the start.

       

      Thanks.

        • 1. Re: What swatches to use?
          G.Hoffmann Level 3

          Please let me tell you my very personal opinion:

           

          Pantone should be used only if Pantone spot inks have to be printed, never

          never as a design guide. The inks are mixed according to Pantone recipies.

          Here one needs two swatch books (paper fans): one for coated paper, the other

          for uncoated. The mixture of Pantone inks is based on assumptions of Pantone

          (the company): the printing process and the kind of paper for coated and

          uncoated. If the actually used paper is different, then the print results as

          measured by Lab will be slightly different.

           

          For CMYK printing one needs two swatch books: one for coated paper,

          the other for uncoated, valid for the most representative printing process in the

          respective country, for instance ISOCoated-v2-eci (don't mind different spelling).

          It seems that people forgot the existence of these swatch books. They cannot

          be replaced by computer simulations.

           

          If Pantone colors (not inks) should be reproduced by CMYK, then the most

          promissing method is in my opinion: get the Lab values and convert them in

          Photoshop  into CMYK values for the actually chosen and valid CMYK space.

          This will fail – considering the result – if the Pantone colors are out of gamut

          for this CMYK space. Then a re-design is necessary.

           

          Alternatively measure Lab values in the actually used Pantone swatch book

          (which may be outdated) and convert them by Photoshop into the relevant

          CMYK space. Measuring requires an instrument, for instance X-Rite DTP22,

          for me the good old work horse.

           

          IMHO, all ready-made conversion tables between Pantone and CMYK should

          be ignored: outdated Pantone definitions (even the Lab values are 'drifting' as

          time goes by) and dubious CMYK printing conditions.

           

          Best regards --Gernot Hoffmann

          • 2. Re: What swatches to use?
            jdanek Level 4

            Before the computer, Pantone sold their complete Spot color set in swatch books and reference guides.  If you wanted to apply a color to an element, you'd choose one from the printed reference guide.  Part of their printed reference guides was solid-to-process CMYK equivalents.  What very few people understand is, the side-by-side comparison ( Spot vs. CMYK Equivalent ) is not a match.  The only reason why Pantone references an uncoated version is show what that specific color would look like on a non-coated sheet.  Before the computer, you referenced an uncoated color using an uncoated color chip, which visually does not match a coated chip.  So, messy designers would put a coated swatch chip on a mechanical that was meant to be printed on a noncoated sheet.  The result?  Angry printers like yourself who could not make an accurate determination of what the color was supposed to look like = confusion.  Any designer who tells you it is OK to assign a coated swatch to a noncoated printing file is as wrong as they were then as they are now.  The computer has only made things more confusing and Pantone has not helped.  In an effort to allow applications to better match unmatchable colors, Pantone reformulated their CMYK ( not all ) equivalents and released Pantone Bridge.  Then, they reformulated again, and released the + Series.  In defense of Pantone, these different reformulations give users the ability to get CMYK colors that may be closer to Spot ( in certain cases ).  Let me help your issues...

             

            _

             

            Can someone please confirm what I already know to be true and help me start using pantone swatches correctly.

             

            Firstly, there are 2 types of swatches, coated and uncoated, which one to use depends on the paper... correct?

             

            - Yes.  Pantone even released a matte version, but that's no longer available.

             

            HOWEVER: I have spoken to other designers and they tell me to forget uncoated and just use coated even on uncoated papers??

             

            - No.  This is incorrect.  There are many, many so called designers who spread misinformation like that and good for you to question it.

             

            Then there are the different types of swatches, Pantone + Solid, Pantone +  Bridge, Pantone +  Formula Guide, from what I understand, the 'Coated swatches' are for when you use pantone colours, the majority of us won't need this swatch as we tend to print only in CMYK which is where I understand the Bridge Swatch comes into effect, this shows us what it will print like in CMYK, but what about signing for web, do we then stay with the bridge swatch or do we go back to the solid swatch.

             

            - Do you mean "web" as in the internet?  Color for the internet is often referred to as "HEX" color and is totally different and should be used only for internet color.  Many people will convert to RGB and use that in web pages.  Pantone has not developed anything for the internet yet.

             

            HOWEVER: Another designer has told me to use the solid 'coated' swatches and convert them to CMYK, the CMYK output will represent what's in the bridge, but then what's the point in the bridge swatches in adobe?

             

            - Not sure on that one.  As I understand it, when you convert in an application on the computer, the CMYK found in the Solid-to-Process is what is used or referred to, which may or may not be different from Pantone Bridge.  To make matters worse, some applications use LAB as default.

             

            There is too much confusion on this and I want to get this right from the start.

             

            - I recommend Adobe's Print Publishing Guide.  I agree with you, it is very confusing.  I hope I've helped a little.  I remember before the computer some of the same confusion existed.  Now, it's only gotten worse.