Info to include when sending design for print?

I’m working for a growing company and they need packaging designs sent to the factory that produces our products. They’ve had issues in the past with the packaging not coming out with the right color.

I’m new to packaging design. While working with a colleague they mentioned that we are sending over the design for a 5 color process (CMYK+1 Pantone color). I have a very base knowledge of what all the means.

What information/instruction do I include for the factory that’s printing our packaging to make sure they print the right colors? Do I provide the color codes? I’m sending over the packaging design files as .AI and PDF files. Are they able to tell from those what colors are needed?

What part isn’t coming out right? The CMYK part or the 1 spot color pantone?
(and is it applied to the file as a spot color or did you make it CMYK with the rest of it?)

Are you a graphic designer?

Get a printed proof.

Pretty standard before committing to a large expensive print order.

Could be where they are getting it printed too. Some online gang printer that doesn’t particularly care about color matching could be involved as well. A proof is always in order. Not paying the $50-$150 for that on a $$$$$ order is foolhardy

Yes, a printer can tell from an .ai file what colors are in the file. If the files are prepared correctly, a printer should be able to print them correctly. If a Pantone color was specified, they should be able to match colors very closely.

However, I don’t know if the files were prepared correctly and I don’t know anything about the printer you’re using. As was mentioned, did you see a proof? They’re standard procedure. If the proof looked good but the printing turned out bad, you’re entitled to a reprint.

Any one of a million things could be at fault. Without knowing exactly what you’re working with, it’s not possible to say with any certainty.

You need a printed proof because colours change depending on the stock they are printed on (among other things). Colour Profiles for paper and card are a minefield so it may be a better idea to ask the printer.

Requesting printed proofs from the printer helps, but if you are dead serious about fixing the issue, then you should be doing press checks on every print run as well. The cheap, gang-run printers won’t do it, but the high end ones will. This only works if it’s being printed locally, and you may pay extra. They get it on press, run a few, you inspect it, and if you think it’s okay you approve the rest of the run.

Since there’s a Pantone color involved, I assume no gang printers were involved. Then again, for all we know, the Pantone color was converted to CMYK.

Gang printers will “do Pantone.”
What they do to it depends on the gang printer, but I guarantee they are NOT mixing a 5th plate.

I use someone that might be considered a ‘gang’ printer for inside marketing, but they do take the time to profile the Pantones if you tell them to.

I used to go to Italy, Spain, Germany, India, US, China etc doing press checks - all on the clients money.

Print runs were in their €millions - so it was a fraction of the price - cheaper than a reprint.

I know a printers who do that - they only had a 4 colour Speedmaster - and washing out to run a 5th plate would cost extra - so they didn’t bother - converted everything to CMYK
and apparently, nobody ever noticed.

My head is still in the high-volume offset world. Mentions of labels and spot colors conjure up visions of 10-40k pieces printed by a label company that prints litho or flexo using 4-color process and spot inks, not a gang run — either offset or digital.

So yeah, if these are low-run digitally printed labels, of course, the Pantone colors could be included in a gang run.

I went back and re-read the OP.
This is “packaging” which is a totally other ball of wax.
Still depends on where and by whom it’s being printed and it can be digital. You should see the in-line CMYK digital printers for boxes. Really cool!
Nozomi C18000 single pass UV Led printer for corrugated industry - YouTube

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