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.