Version of InDesign (exactly)? What PDF export setting are you using?
By 'pantone color selection', I presume you mean a spot colour swatch. InDesign won't automatically convert them, unless 'All Spots to Process' is checked in the Ink Manager.
Yes, if you send a PDF containing spot colours to a printer for CMYK process printing, you can usually expect a reasonable conversion to CMYK to happen in their preflight or RIP, but it's generally better practice not to do it. It's hard to determine what went wrong without seeing the artwork.
Thanks for the help. I think the problem is we have been told to use something the print shop set up when exporting our pdfs but this is something they set up years ago. From what I've been reading I should be exporting from InDesign to a PDF/X file and that would solve the problem. Is that correct?
1 person found this helpful
In general it's bad practice to use spot colors for a process color job. You should either change the swatch type to process in the swatches panel or use Pantone's recommended CMYK values by using the PANTONE Bridge libraries
The printers should be correcting that when they receive. All they seem to have done with the file is put it through their RIP without looking at it.
Likely the Spot colour was not handled correctly, or ignored.
Ideally - I prefer to leave colours as they are - if they're RGB - then leave them - if they're Spot colours - leave them (unless the brand guidelines give CMYK breakdowns then I would change).
It's my opinion and that of several colleagues that colour conversion is best handled by a RIP - where an up to date RIP would have all the correct information for converting a Spot Colour to CMYK.
I would also go as far to say that the printers didn't preflight, they didn't check, they didn't do anything other than make a plate of exactly what you gave - which was misinterpreted by their RIP.
Basically - did you get a proof of the job from the printers? If so, was the proof that you received identical to what was printed?
If the answer is Yes you got a proof and No it didn't match - then the printer is at fault.
If you never got a proof - and the printers never flagged anything in error - nor flagged anything during printing - then you are both at fault here and should come to an amicable agreement.
If you have a contract with them you should review this and refer the relevant sections as to what was expected of you and what was expected of them.
At the end of the day - the job is ruined and the responsibility lies somewhere between you and them.