6 Replies Latest reply on May 13, 2015 7:19 AM by CarlLawrence

    Pantone spot colours differ between programs

    CarlLawrence

      Hi,

       

      I wonder if anyone else has this issue.

       

      I have designed a business card in InDesign and have some text within the document which I have made the spot colour '549c', I have also designed a logo using the same spot colour '549c' in Illustrator. I have then placed the logo into the InDesign document to then print them off and not only does the spot colour look different on screen, it is printing different between the logo and text too.

       

      I have just double clicked and looked at the CMYK colour breakdown at the spot colour in InDesign and in Illustrator, and they have different CMYK make-ups!!

       

      Surely this must be a bug? as the whole idea of using spot colours is to make the design consistent, but if the CMYK breakdowns between Adobe programs is different then I have no chance, lol.

       

      Any help would be much appreciated.

       

      Thanks in advance.

       

      Carl

        • 1. Re: Pantone spot colours differ between programs
          rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          If you are really printing a spot color the CMYK mix doesn't matter because the color will be separated to its own plate for the solid ink color. The distinction between a spot color and CMYK process color has been made clearer with CS6 and later. Spot colors are now defined as Lab and a conversion to CMYK would depend on your document's CMYK profile.

           

          If you don't want to color manage conversions to CMYK, Pantone now provides the Pantone Color Bridge libraries which are CMYK process simulations of the solid ink colors. If you use those libraries along with the same document CMYK profiles the values will match.

          • 2. Re: Pantone spot colours differ between programs
            CarlLawrence Level 1

            Many thanks for the quick response Rob!

             

            We quite often use spot colours and receive artwork from other designers using spot colours even though we are printing the documents digitally (CMYK).

             

            Accordingy to my 'Colour Settings' my colour settings are synchronised across all programs so should all match I guess?

             

            I hope that makes sense.

             

            Carl

            • 3. Re: Pantone spot colours differ between programs
              rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              We quite often use spot colours and receive artwork from other designers using spot colours even though we are printing the documents digitally (CMYK).

               

              Unless your digital printer has some kind of Pantone lookup table, spec'ing spot colors only complicates color management. Spot colors can be more consistent but only if they are printed as a separate spot ink.

               

              Accordingy to my 'Colour Settings' my colour settings are synchronised across all programs so should all match I guess?

               

              Sync'ing changes the application color settings, but doesn't necessarily have any affect on existing documents. Documents can have their own assigned color profiles and color policies that are different than the application's Color Settings, which are what gets sync'd. Also how a spot color is defined can depend on the version, before CS6 you could define a spot as CMYK. You might have a case where there's a CMYK defined spot color in an Illustrator file and when it gets placed in IDCS6 or later the spot Lab definition is used.

              • 4. Re: Pantone spot colours differ between programs
                CarlLawrence Level 1

                Our digital printer does have it's own Pantone look up table, which now you have mentioned it, it should be overriding the CMYK breakdown in Adobe anyway. Hhmmm I shall have to look at our Fiery RIP to see why it is not overriding.

                 

                Ahh ok, I understand what you are saying in point 2, so I then wonder if there is an force InDesign colour settings override so that any document I open up with it's own colour settings would be overwritten and therefore all the Pantone colour CMYK breakdowns would match in theory..?

                • 5. Re: Pantone spot colours differ between programs
                  rob day Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  I then wonder if there is an force InDesign colour settings override so that any document I open up with it's own colour settings would be overwritten and therefore all the Pantone colour CMYK breakdowns would match in theory..?

                   

                  In general Color Settings has no affect on the source color definition of a spot color—the assumption is you've picked a spot color and it will output as a spot color. Photoshop does have a Spot Working space but all that does is let you adjust the display of the spot color's tints.

                   

                  By default the current versions of ID and AI define the Pantone Solid colors as Lab values. So if you make a new AI doc, get Pantone Orange 21C and add it to the doc, the definition will be Lab 61|65|85. If you place in ID you'll get the same definition. But I could make my own swatch and call it Pantone Orange 21C and give it any definition I want—maybe a CMYK blue like 100|50|0|0—in that case if I place in ID I'll get the blue swatch named Pantone Orange 21C unless there's already a swatch with the same name. If there is an existing swatch your General>Allow incoming spot color to replace existing swatch of same name preference will determine which definition is used.

                   

                  So before you even get to output using spot colors for a process color job adds a lot of color management complexity. At output you have to consider the Ink Manger setting. Are the spot colors being converted to CMYK there or are you letting them go to your RIP? And in that case what happens with tints and transparency? Check this thread:

                   

                  Re: Ink Manager Bug/Problem?

                  • 6. Re: Pantone spot colours differ between programs
                    CarlLawrence Level 1

                    Hi Rob,

                     

                    Can I just say a huge thank you for all your assistance with this, you have figured it out for me!!

                     

                    It is because the logo was created pre (CS6), so is using CMYK Pantone breakdown, as copy and pasting the logo into a new Illustrator document and resavinf the logo and then placing it into InDesign again, the Spot is broken down into lab values in the logo Pantone and the InDesign Pantone colour, so matches perfectly!!!!

                     

                    Thanks very much indeed.

                     

                    Carl