A Heads-Up:

We had discussions about this here in the shop months ago, since this was on the horizon as soon as Pantone went to a paywall.
Adobe has not updated Pantone colors since, I dunno, 3 swatch decks ago so maybe 5 years or more?
There was a free download system up until around October then it went behind the paywall and now, guess what? You be payin another $10 a month to be in business.

We moved into it in early December. The interface sucks. And the pretty good cross reference tool they used to have is now broken.

Good luck!

I can’t wait for
a) hey, I can’t place these 15 colors but here are what the CMYK numbers are, just swap them out
b) here are some paint chips I picked up at Home Depot. Just match em.

There will be fees associated. Just sayin’

Or maybe Pantone has finally shot themselves in the foot.
Given the number of college grads I see these days who have never used Pantone (and some that don’t even know it exists) I see the day of “just print it and I’ll pay you if I like it” happening.

Next step, Adobe comes up with their own proprietary system. Then we’ll have to profile for both? I did not get out of this industry fast enough.

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I didn’t see this coming, but I’m not surprised. Adobe has buried the Pantone swatches four or five levels deep in their apps for years. This always led me to believe there were unresolved licensing issues between the two companies that would come to a head someday.

Looks like the Pantone Connect add-on to bring back functionality will be $60 per year.

In my workflow, Pantone spot colors have become increasingly less important over the years. My work is either digital or 99 percent process colors. I think the only thing I’ve used Pantone colors for in the past year has been to spec t-shirt screen printing colors.

This isn’t true for everyone, of course, but precise color matching is never an issue for me. I think I’ll try to get by without the extra expense — at least for a while to see what practical and legal alternatives there might be for my minimal needs.

I thought we had a conversation about this a short while back, and I thought, at the time, the swatches would stay in the CC programs but there were other features that would not be available. If they are dropping the swatches out of the programs and you have to subscribe to get those, all I can say is those &hl%()& rat 7%*&%HK can KHY^6 my ^(&hbd. Surely someone will come up with an AI / INDD file that has all of the Pantone swatches as a work around. Yes, I realize it’s the way things are going, but I am completely burned out on subscriptions.

I’m retired. They can do whatever they damn please.


It won’t have a profound effect on me either, although I do routinely design product safety and install-aid labels that are flexo printed using inks of Pantone recipe. I expect all that will happen is the printer will tell me how to specify each ink in the half-dozen or so we regularly use, and I’ll do what they say.

I think I started that thread a while back when I had to sign up for Pantone Connect to get the latest color swatches that some designers were using. At the time it was free, but they were making no secret that it was leading to a paywall.

So we’ve had to use it for the last several months to keep up with the bleeding edgers.
The problem is gonna come when the next Adobe update doesn’t have any of those colors any more and we get even more of the CMYK colors that don’t pass the proof process. I’m not kidding, we’ve had more and more of those every year, “Well that’s not the color I intended, can you fix it?” Sure, for a billable hour of system time, and the price of a new proof. Oh, and maybe moving your print deadline out too.

How do I tell a designer if they want a color match they have to apply the Pantone color to their file, oh and I’m sorry you have to pay Pantone to get them… That’s gonna fly? It should cuz it’s part of being a designer, but whatEVer. If I gotta go out and buy a hammer for an install I’m doing, I go out and buy a hammer. I might even use it on the next job.

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Thank you!

“The printer is responsible for mixing the correct ink…”
In Digital format though, there is no ink mix. And the rips are set up to read Pantone color swatches in the Swatches palette in a certain format (the one Adobe has been using in their swatch palettes, and probably down the road, whatever format Pantone will now use.) Call it any other name and the rip will just print the CMYK values “as is” with no profiling to Pantone color. You’ll get whatever LAB value that is.

Speaking of which, and I don’t know if this is still true, but the LAB values at one time were tweaked to give a more ‘accurate’ Pantone color on any (generic) monitor. They weren’t the actual Pantone color LAB values. There was a radio button that never worked where you could supposedly tell the software to use the Book Values, but like I said, it’s been forever broken.

So, yeah, proceed with an abundance of caution.

Wouldn’t the ‘book’ Lab values be dependent on a number of unknowns, such as measuring instrument’s optical geometry, standard illuminant, standard observer and measurement condition settings?

To the best of my (limited) knowledge, the Lab values alone are pretty much useless without knowing the details of the measurement conditions. D50/2°, m1 settings on a 0/45° instrument with an illuminant-A source is going to give you different Lab values than D65/10° m0 settings on an d/8° spherical instrument in SCI mode using some sort of full-spectrum LED’s as the source.

This is as I understand things, mind. Not an expert - I know just enough to be dangerous, as some would say.

The book values have changed over time. The book values I was talking about were the CMYK representations of Pantones that used to exist. I’ve given up on anything other than direct profiling or actual charting now. If you want to match a Pantone color, apply it to the file using Connect, tell your printer you want it to match the latest swatch deck, give them a delta-e and get a proof.

As for ‘book’ value and light temperature, most color matching for front lit material is done in a 5000k light booth. For backlit images they are either “cool white” or “warm white” or somewhere between 5000k and 6500k ish. With these new LED lightboxes, we ask for the temperature of the LEDs if they are not mixable. Should be on the label. Some LEDs come as dual white so you can mix your warm cool color temperature. Some are RGBAWW so you can do anything you please with them.

Outside of that? If you know your exhibit space is using some kind of special lighting or some direct LED pin spotting, or some other kind of weird lighting, tell us the temp and we’ll try. But in those situations, getting a proof and discussing what has to happen to the next proof is usually the way it goes. I’ve actually had the lighting designers rig me up fixtures to check color.

In the almost quarter of a century I’ve been doing this job, I’ve only encountered once in my life a colour accurate workflow using all that stuff. It was for an art gallery and I learned a lot in the 2 years we had the contract for them.

But never encountered another workflow in my approx 25 years doing this.

Most of my experience is people don’t know what a Pantone colour is. They get a brand book done and send it to the designers/printers with their print files.

A lot of it is done on hope, I feel.

What’s worse is that someone who knows what they are doing gets the branding done and then leaves the company. The next person the company hires doesn’t have a clue - and it dilutes the more people come in to replace that person.

The worst scenario I had recently (about 3 years ago) was the dreaded Pantone 045. And they had a CMYK build for this - and as you guys know - there’s a vast visual difference.

It was hell - as sometimes they get stuff printed digitally, like shorter digital runs, and then they want the same file used later for longer litho runs.

I had to setup the file so that 045 could be mapped to a specific CMYK build that they specified (didn’t match the Pantone book with the CMYK breakdown).

Then make a spot version of the PDF and a CMYK version of the File.

It was madness - and this client was sending in artwork requests every 2nd day.

I don’t know what this has to do with anything. But hey, might as well share.

I’m on the other end of this problem. Rather than someone who works in prepress, production, or printing, my role is typically the person selling the idea of branding standards or using organizations’ standards that already exist.

I don’t often get clients that consider tight adherence to their brand standards important. More typically, I’ll need to ask and wait a few days for them to find those standards if they have them. As @Smurf2 alluded, most clients don’t even know what a Pantone color is. If their brand color is Pantone 185, any bright red is good enough in their eyes.

These clients can be extremely picky about all kinds of things, but color fidelity is rarely one of them. I’ve put together many brand and signage standard manuals for clients, and I’d be willing to bet that half were looked at a few times and then mostly forgotten.

I don’t doubt that the Pantone library’s removal from the Adobe apps will be a significant hassle for some, but I don’t think it will affect me much. It might even be the nail in the coffin that finally eliminates Pantone as a significant consideration in my work. I suppose we’ll see. In the mean time, I’ll keep a physical Pantone swatchbook handy.

It’s grand most brand identity I see posted here are using hex colours anyway. :rofl:

No consideration for coated vs uncoated - cos 185 looks different on different stocks.
I actually don’t ever recall seeing branding books that dictated the uncoated swatches, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that.

That’s where printers come to the rescue. Pantone 185C on uncoated stock - woooah boys! They’ll make it work for you.

Unsung heroes - there’s some really good printers out there that will look after customers.

Well since we’re throwing stuff in here, I’d just make the point that not all color-critical work is about brand colors, or even spot colors. Back in the '90’s and early '00’s, I had some experience with some purveyors of textile products. One was a clothing maker and another was a distributor of fabric for window shades and drapery, both operating in upscale markets. At the time, printed catalogs were still the primary vehicle by which customers formed impressions of their products, and perceptual color accuracy was a big deal to them. Press proofs were scrutinized on an item-by-item level, and days were spent calibrating presses and monitors, color adjusting photos, and reproofing several times over. I imagine such cases are somewhat less common now, but I have heard similar stories more recently about automobile paint colors in printed brochures and other color-specific print workflows.

I forgot about 1 other colour critical workflow I was part of - which was a Holiday destination brochure for a big travel company.

Yes, I remember the days of outputting chromlains and having to pass them by the customer first.

It was an era of receiving things by floppy/zip disk, or just hand written, and there was no email. customers came to the office. Big meetings.

To get a proof to the customer, there would be a typesetter, a scanner operator, a prepress technician, and a colour specialist.

Towards the end of my time there I was the scanner operator, prepress tech and colour specialist.

But to get from point of customer meeting to proofs - involved largely about 4 prepress operators (all with different skills).

And it was a long process to get a proof and colour proofs to customers. We’d take a week putting together samples - and then printing them out - getting them on the van for 2 O’Clock because they had to be on the 3 O’Clock train.

And you’d wait and wait - maybe 2 or 3 weeks later you’d get the proofs back with notes.

Then you go through the whole process again.

The holiday travel brochure actually took about 3 months to put together properly. With skilled hands at the ready.

Nowadays, it’s one person, on a laptop or desktop, firing emails back and forth.

Lucky to get 3 days or 3 weeks these days - nevermind 3 months.

Everything I see now is
‘OMG we forgot about this edition of the quarterly brochure - YOU HAVE TO HELP US GET IT OUT IN TIME’

‘How long do I have?’



There are companies out there with Branding Police. They literally go to your shop with corporate swatch deck in hand and will gig you on sight if a color is off. I could name a few, but I won’t.

Most of the stuff I do is considered, Interior Design. Even most of the prints I do. Pantone is relatively important cuz it isn’t just prints involved. There’s paint, fabric, lighting, furniture, carpets… It all has to relate in some way. Usually such a gig comes with a sample board with all the various components represented in one place, including the tear chips from a Pantone chip book. Or we make one right quick and get it approved.

Eh. Whatever. 1 year 4 months. Maybe. If I can afford to retire…

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