16 Replies Latest reply on May 29, 2015 6:32 AM by jdanek

    The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color

    perrybrus Level 2

      Hi,

       

      I'm looking at the corp. identity colors where I work and I find that the PMS colors that's quoted in the brand guideline doesn't match with the CMYK values that I have in my updated Pantone ColorBridge reference guide. The hexcodes and RGB values doesn't match either. So, have the people behind that corp. guide decided NOT to bridge the colors directly and instead chosen to manually pick each color to make it look like exactly like they wanted? This guide is made by a designer / designers that doesn't work here anymore so I don't know the iteration behind this. Isn't best practice to follow a bridge reference when you start off by quoting the PMS values in the brand guide? For instance, in my new Pantone ColorBridge reference guide the Pantone 187C is bridged to C7 M100 Y82 26K / R166 G25 B46 / #A6192E but in the corp. guide the color Pantone 187C is translated to different CMYK, RGB and hex values than I get in my bridge guide. When I talked to Pantone about this they said that their bridge product is translating the PMS into the closest equivalent CMYK, RGB and hex from any PMS color. So, according to what they say at the Pantone headquarters anything else would be considered freestyling with the color values - or? 

        • 1. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
          rmphoto Level 1

          There's a recent discussion about this at:

          Why are they different? Help!

           

          In a nutshell, to translate a specific PMS value (or any color in any space, for that matter) to a specific color space (sRGB, CMYK of some particular flavor, hex), you should start with the PMS's L*a*b values and convert from there. In my experience, L*a*b is the only reliable and bullet-proof single formula that defines a specific color.

           

          A quick google search reveals these L*a*b values for Pantone 187C: 38/57/29

          (Note: Most of the google results give decimal values. Photoshop deals with whole numbers, so I've rounded to the closest whole number.)


          There's a persistent (and wrong) notion that all you need to reproduce a PMS color is its CMYK value. The missing piece of information in that idea is which press condition the CMYK value was calculated for - something in Hong Kong or China?, sheetfed?, web coated?, newsprint?, silkscreen?, Docucolor?, etc, etc ad nauseum.


          To accurately prepare color for a specific output device, convert from the PMS L*a*b value to the ICC output profile specific to the output device. And, in the CMYK world, there are MANY different kinds of output devices.


          Hope that helps.

          • 2. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
            perrybrus Level 2

            Hi,

             

            Although you advice was technically advance and accurate it's not achievable in my environment to go to these lengths. I need to deliver a generic guide, I know that each printer is calibrated differently, and that each stock gives each color different results, and different materials generate different results when using Pantone colors too, and that each monitor is calibrated differently, and that the human eyes perceive colors individually, and that light affects the way color looks etc etc. As mentioned Pantone produces a Bridge reference guide that translates any Pantone color into the closest equivalent CMYK, RGB and hex. It's basically a generic dither scale or a "consumer friendly" calculation. The results will never bee 100% accurate cross color rooms anyhow. After further investigation Pantone says the RGB reference is sRGB by the way. Yes, I know there are many RGB concepts.

             

            The main point. I choose to believe that the people who made the brand guide in question did manually pick each color based on an eye assessment. They most likely found a Pantone red and then picked a sRGB red that did the job, and a CMYK red that worked and so on. They didn't use a Bridge product, I found a small type that quoted the reference. It just said Pantone Matching Guide. It was made in 2007.  

            • 3. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
              rmphoto Level 1

              So..., what was your question?

              Or was it more of an observation?

              • 4. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                perrybrus Level 2

                I wanted to share my thoughts on this particulate case to see if anyone else had any theories on it. Why the brandguide didn't match up. Perhaps there could be other explanations I haven't thought of. I picked up five different random brandguides online to see what was best practise at global coporations, what I found was that they had used Bridge concepts. Cause all of them matched with my reference guides. So, the local corporate brand document I'm referring to seems to be somewhat off the charts. I think it's a freestyle job. 

                • 5. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                  jdanek Level 4

                  Ideally, when a branding guide is created, the creator should spell-out how they determined their color conversions.  Otherwise, it's anyone's guess ( as you are experiencing ).  None of my references have any Cyan in the CMYK equivalents for 187C.  I would present your findings to whoever manages the marketing communications for the company you work for.  If you present your argument like you have here, they will want the branding guide(s) corrected.  The sooner the mess is cleaned up the better.  If they show no interest in correcting the branding guide(s), then shelve them and create the correct color in your work.  Obviously, if you build your file using Pantone 187C ( Spot Color ), then it will print using Pantone 187C.  For CMYK documents, most vendors will accept the color you give them.  Most of the time, it is your responsibility to get a contract proof of your file before you have it printed.  If it is a CMYK job and you used Bridge Plus Series equivalents, paste a swatch from Pantone's reference guide chipset on the proof so that the color used in the document matches the Bridge conversion.  Get your boss to sign-off on the proof and ship the proof with the disk to the printer.  End of story.  If you don't get the sign-off from your boss, then he / she must have a good reason.  But, if the color matches the Bridge reference guide ( printed by the way ), you've crossed all your "t's".  Recommend they ditch the branding guide ad get a refud for whatever they paid for it.

                  • 6. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                    perrybrus Level 2

                    jdanek,

                     

                    The company doesn't print anything. 98% of all brand communication and design is sRGB / hex. But the brandguide is obviously made up of Pantone and CMYK values and it never matched up with my reference and that made me curious to what philosophy was behind this.

                    • 7. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                      jdanek Level 4

                      Understood.  I would create a quick reference poster using the corporate colors in hypothetical scenarios and have a contract proof made of that.  Still going through the process of having everyone responsible sign-off on the poster.  Keep it hung in the office for anyone to get quick reference information for a given project, be it web, Powerpoint, print, etc., etc.  I find it troubling that their is a branding guide with blatant errors in it people will use for reference numbers for anything.  My point is that needs to be corrected moving forward.

                      • 8. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                        perrybrus Level 2

                        I agree. Having physical references / proofs hanging on the wall is a good idea. They really need to see for themselves. But to be honest, who knows what any CMYK color is "supposed" to look like. My experience is that there's no actual correct print as every printer is different, and every stock affects the result. Using U on Uncoated stock and C on coated doesn't generate any accuracy either. Well, I'm getting a bit off topic now.

                        • 9. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                          jdanek Level 4

                          You are very much still on topic.  I mentioned in my first post that the creator should explain how they came up with their conversion numbers.  You'd do the same thing in a disclaimer that points out the reality of color in both transmissive and reflective environments.  You think it is tough to generate CMYK.  It's even tougher to generate RGB because each monitor is different.  That's why it is important to explain that color is not going to appear the same everywhere it is used and that the viewer must use their own discretion.  When color management was developed, its theory was to achieve a certain amount of "consistency" across all media.  When you look in the back of the Pantone reference guides, they explain the press, paper characteristics when the guide was printed.  Any good branding guide would have similar information written for viewers and users.

                          • 10. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                            perrybrus Level 2

                            I agree and will make sure that is included if I get to make the next brand guide. Colors are just one of many elements in guides like that but it sure is the least accurate in this one.

                            • 11. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                              perrybrus Level 2

                              By the way jdanek, do you think it should be mandatory to quote both C and U values of Pantone and CMYK colors in a brand guide? After all I think it's correct to quote sRGB and not just RGB for digital space. So why not C/U as well, in order to further define and formalize the color guide.

                              • 12. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                                jdanek Level 4

                                Not unless there is a history of using different Pantone Spot Colors.  For instance, for coated, spec 187C.  For matte or non-coated, company prefers 193U.  But, seldom will you ever see that done because it opens a whole can of worms.  So, no.  Not a good idea.  If the brand uses 187C, then its 187U for non-coated.  Again, some color scientist out there will manipulate the CMYK percentages for a non-coated vs. a coated 187.  You bring up a long, long conversation in the differences between coated and non-coated scenarios and how they affect color.  This has been going on long before the computer.  Historically, color has been referenced by coated applications.  Companies will communicate color in their branding guides as "C" ( coated ) references and, i their disclaimer, mention that uncoated applications will use a "U" reference.

                                • 13. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                                  perrybrus Level 2

                                  So, if I get you right the common thing is to quote Pantone C cause that's the tradition, or best practice so to speak? I've always wondered why every brand guide has the Pantone Coated reference and not U cause many don't use Coated stock at all when printing. But for CMYK I can't recall seeing any reference to C or U in any brand guide. That puzzles me cause after all, CMYK is more common that Pantone as the prize difference is so large. I talked to a printer some time ago that said 80% of all their assignments are CMYK productions.

                                  • 14. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                                    jdanek Level 4

                                    The numbers are the same for both coated and uncoated and because most branding guides are printed on coated, well they use the "C" reference ( just my guess ).  Yes, it is established as the procedure to show the "C" reference and let the designer change the reference to "U" in their application for a specific paper type.

                                    • 15. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                                      perrybrus Level 2

                                      When the numbers are the same for C/U it seems a bit non logical to present the C in any guide. Would be better to just quote the color space and the number code it represents in the reference guide, and then write the name of the reference guide and the year of production. Wouldn't that be the most objective and neutral way to go about?

                                      • 16. Re: The corp identity brandguide doesn't match up in terms of color
                                        jdanek Level 4

                                        Not when you consider most of print is done on coated media and a much smaller percentage are uncoated.  There are no set rules that I know of.  You could explain it in the disclaimer we discussed earlier.