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  • CMYK RGB issues

    Hello. I am constantly being asked to identify a colour in a client's logo and then convert it to RGB CMYK or Pantone and visa versa. Please for the love of all that is good and holy can someone give me some advice on the best way to do this. I'm working with the Adobe Suite, specifically Adobe Illustrator. Have tried conversion programs online with mixed results. TIA

  • #2
    The logos should be created in Pantone.
    If the logos are in RGB or worse, CMYK, trying to get a Pantone conversion isn't always going to be successful. There are thousands of RGB combinations and many more thousands of CMYK combinations. There are only about 3600 Pantone chips. Chances of a match are slim to none.

    My first method of attack is always to call the client and ask them for their brand standards.
    Those should tell me the Pantone color first.
    The CMYK values they use in the standard may or may not be the actual CMYK callouts for the color in question. They may be totally different for reasons noted below. RGB callouts are rare. Hex values are usually used.

    If the client doesn't have a brand standard:

    If I have a Pantone color and need either RGB or CMYK:
    I'll go to my trusty Pantone Bridge and just look up the RGB and CMYK callouts. While I'm there, I'll see just how close to accurate Pantone seems to think the CMYK process color will be if done in conventional 4-color print (usually not very close at all.) Sometimes you may need to select a different, more accurate CMYK callout based on what the Bridge thinks that might be. Bear in mind that some digital printing formats have extended ink sets and will get much much closer if you just use the Pantone callout. Talk to your printer about this.

    If I have a CMYK color, or for some strange reason an RGB number, and the client doesn't have a standard, the only thing I do is get a Pantone equivalent using the color picker in Photoshop using the profile I will be using to print. Your mileage with that will vary depending on selecting the correct profile. Then I run a proof and get client approval. I would never run a job blind. The chances of being accurate on that Pantone pick is slim to none. The color picker will show you the difference in the under-over at the top of the picker. Sometimes it's quite noticeably different.

    If someone sends me a color sample of their CMYK color larger than a 1/2" square, I can sometimes get a color using a spectrometer but not always. The halftone pattern can be a deal killer.

    Just bear in mind that if you have a Pantone, just using the CMYK or RGB values in the Bridge may not accurately output in print or on the monitor. The Bridge is only what Pantone inks look like on the paper they have specified. Ink sets and media will influence the color you get.
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 09-26-2016, 11:55 AM.

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    • #3
      Hi Sister and welcome to GDF.

      We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
      Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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      • #4
        It might also be useful to consider that much of what PrintDriver posted boils down to the fact that many spot colors can't be produced in CMYK; the very reason they exist as spot colors in the first place.
        I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.

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        • #5
          The other thing too is, when using a bridge, it only has pantone chips and their CMYK values. It's often quite possible to find a really close CMYK match that is not in the Bridge. But you can only work that out with the printer, using the media and machine on which you will be doing the project.

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          • #6
            Are these logos you have designed or logos that other people have designed? If other, then as PD suggested, you should request brand standards first. If they don't have that, then you will need to define brand standards. If you're looking to define colours for logos you have designed, you should probably sit down with your client with print outs and a Pantone book and look through and select colours together.
            It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?" Winnie the Pooh

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