Pantone Connect colors different than PMS?!

so today, i just purchased the pantone connect licenses for my (8) person team. what a mess! not a user-friendly process…

so, three things:

  1. you can’t open the pantone connect color libraries from the swatches panel (indesign). what?!!?
  2. you have to open the pantone connect extension, then ONE-BY-ONE add your pantone swatches to the indesign swatches panel. what!?!!?

also…the biggest thing: 3) the pms colors in pantone connect DO NOT MATCH the previous pms colors we use in our logos (60+ logos)!!!

anyone else dealing with this?

i think i may actually cancel this order altogether…what a piece of poo!! :persevere:

I broke down and had to install it last week so I could update some envelopes. I don’t understand it either, and I noticed all the poor reviews on Adobe Exchange. 3500 one star reviews and only 60 five star reviews.

1 Like

I wonder what designers are doing for the pantone colors… just printing in process colors instead? or having the printer assign the PMS color where needed?

what a pain in the brain! I thought this would save us money by keeping the spot colors for our one or two color logos, but I think it’s a big waste of money now that it’s not really working right, and I’m going to suggest we get a refund and go back to just process colors.


Adobe and Pantone couldn’t agree to continue including Pantone swatches in Adobe software, so each went their separate ways. The result is Pantone’s convoluted and maddening workarounds, which you’ve described.

I haven’t used Pantone colors for several years; it’s too much hassle. I have very few jobs where precision color matches are necessary. When I do, the client always supplies the Pantone number, so I just add a swatch named that color.

@PrintDriver might be best at supplying more information. He often works with Pantone colors for precision color matching in large-format work.


yeah, I think I’m at that point too. well many of our logos have specific pantone colors which I have record of), much of the work we do is actually four color so I think we can get by without it for 98% of our projects.

No - Pantone adjusted the License. Pantone wanted to go subscription.
Adobe had no say in it.

Pantone and Adobe are different companies (aimed at the OP)
I put an FAQ at the bottom.

Pantone Colours and PMS colours are the same thing.

As long as it says Pantone 185 CVC or Pantone 185C or Pantone whatever.
As long as they are the official colours.

The colours don’t vary - probably just the display in Adobe has altered slightly as they prefer the LAB mix and that will alter the colour depending on the Colour Settings of the Application.

Pantone is just an ink - if you have Pantone 185C and it looks slightly different to previous version - then you don’t need to worry.
Printers will mix the ink for Pantone 185C and match it to the colour book (a printed book for accuracy).

And if you had all your logos in Pantone Colours before - there was no need to purchase a separate license.

The Pantone Colours are still inside your old logos.
And if you open them you should still have access to using those Spot Colours.

There should be no disruption to your previous spot colours used in past logos.


If you have an older version of InDesign or Illustrator - there’s nothing in the License that stops you from backing up the Pantone swatches from previous Apps and installing them in the folder for newer apps.


well, yes they do look different on screen but also when I print them, the colors print differently (laser printer).

in my workflow, we use different sources to print things ie Printers, fedex, laser printers, etc. the colors need to be obviously consistent (not perfect of course)… and I’m not seeing that.

I work for a non-profit, and we don’t have the money to get a color proof on every single thing we print, unfortunately, just to make sure that the colors will print correctly.

but also: why would they appear/print different if they’re the same number? that just doesn’t make sense to me…

I think this is what we’re going to end up doing. I’m going to see if I can get a refund on a purchase of the pantone connect licenses. :woozy_face:

But it’s the same as the .acb files in the previous library you have.

1 Like

Strange you’re getting different results.
Are you sure you picked the exact same Pantone and Pantone model?
There’s Pantone Solid Coated, Pantone CMYK (something something)

If you don’t choose the same Pantone model there could be differences.
Or the Pantone swatches might be forced into LAB.

(Dov Isaacs is the priciniple scientist at Adobe)

1 Like

You know more than I do about what happens at Adobe, but if it was Pantone’s decision alone to leave in favor of a subscription model, I wonder why it’s still part of the Affinity Suite.

1 Like

Different license agreement - I am guessing.
There’s a bit here Pantone Support - Pre-V2 Archive of Affinity on Desktop Questions (macOS and Windows) - Affinity | Forum

I’m not sure Affinity will continue to receive free Pantone support.
Pantone could pull the rug over there too.

1 Like

In the Pantone Connect, you want the Solid Coated book.
The numbers are the numbers.

What you might be running into is the “print Pantone on Profile” problem. Every media, inkset, and print machine print 4-color pantones using what’s called a Profile, which tells the heads how much of each ink to spew, specific to those 3 parameters. If you, or your printer aren’t using the profiles, you are going to get different results across all your printers.

Fedex/Kinkos is not the best for being on top of how their machines work (I once watched a tech at a Kinkos pour Cyan toner powder into a Magenta pot, as they ignored my rather loud suggestion that they stop.)

Same goes for online gang printers. They just run it all out in CMYK, but for the most part, the larger companies are using profiles and come as close as possible to the Pantone output you want. But remember, not all Pantone colors are achievable in 4-color process. There are ways you can check what you might get from a gang printer. I’ve always had luck applying the Pantone, but checking the conversion in the Bridge, just so I’m not horribly surprised if the color happens to be out of gamut (I can usually tell that too, just by looking at my monitor. :slight_smile: )

I’ve had a few designers ‘give up’ on Pantone because of the horrible interface. But then now they are asking ME to apply Pantones to their files where indicated. Guess who’s color matching fee just went up? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:
If you are at any level of Pro in the design field, consider it the cost of having the right tools. Or put another way, your Adobe software just got $10/month more expensive. That’s 2 Starbucks coffees.

Anyway, read over what Smurf said. If your files had Pantones in them, they are still there. The part about the .acb files also still works, and I still have an older version of Illustrator CC that has the swatches (though, come to think of it, I suspect that may be part of why I keep getting notices from Adobe to “update” my “out of date” software.)


Even disregarding PANTONE, consistent output between print devices or print suppliers is a tall order, especially for digital print devices/services.

Where PANTONE is concerned, that consistency really is only to be expected when the print method is a conventional one of some sort and PANTONE inks themselves are in use.

That you seemed to get fairly consistent output before is what’s baffling to me.

1 Like

I’m having a hard time finding the article, but I am fairly certain I remember reading that Pantone changed the actual formulas for some of the PMS colors. Maybe this is what @Ms.O (no relation :grinning:) is referring to.

As someone who designs a fair number of logos, I’ve always based logo colors on PMS colors and then extrapolated CMYKs and RGBs from the PMS. Honestly, I’m not sure this is needed. From my practice, PMS colors were mostly used for stationery items, but I can’t remember the last time I designed a letterhead or envelope. I’ll still design the occasional business card, but they are largely printed in four color process. So I could probably get by specifying CMYK and RGB combinations only for logo clients.


Pantone changed the formulas first around 2000, then recently when they incorporated their failed GOE ink system into the regular Pantone ink system. I want to say that was at least 5 years ago, maybe more. Both changes were most noticeable in the blue colors, but the overall Delta-e wasn’t all that bad except to people with extended chroma vision (I have a couple of designer clients with that and they see the most minute of color discrepencies.) The only time it was a real problem was when they made that change in 2000 and I was in the middle of several huge projects. The new profiles came down and suddenly our colors weren’t matching previously printed parts of the job. It was a very…intense…week of hair wrenching.

There are projects beyond creating logos and collateral where color palettes created in Pantone are a very big deal. Next time you walk into a Science Museum, Aquarium, or a largish (or even a smallish) National Park Visitor Center, all of those exhibits use Pantone to print on large format machines (and some other weird print processes.) If you are using 2, 3, 4, sometimes more outsource vendors and want it all to match, within reason, you use Pantone Coated colors. That’s how we operate. The large ink spew machines have inksets with a much wider color gamut than a standard CMYK press. I like to boast we can hit a good 85% of the Pantone swatch deck (not counting metallics and flourecents.) If the machine has O, G, or V inks, even more (but please please please do NOT use the Pantone Extended Gamut swatch book.)


“fairly consistent” is a relative term. :smiley: good enough.

even when picking the same pantone model, the colors appear and print differently…sometimes slightly different, sometimes way different.

this is similar to our design process. 98% of what we print is cmyk, so needing the exact pantone color seems redundant. we do print 2-color…spot and black occassionally, but in those cases, we use a full print shop and can ask the printer to match the spot color to a specific pms number which works.