April 19, 2008

Pantone rebuilt their bridge?

(This is a little off what I normally post about, but I felt it was really important)

Just a little note to all my designer friends, and those who care and feed them, about changes to the Pantone Color Bridge.

Remember how useful you thought Pantone's Color Bridge was the first time you used it, you know the Pantone swatch book that shows you the Pantone ink color on the left and the CMYK equivalent on the right. You could finally see what happened when your Spot Color was converted to a Process Color. (If you have no idea what I am talking about, don't worry, this is the reason you use professional designers). Well as it turns out Pantone thought they would be helpful and changed the CMYK numbers for us to make the colors even closer. Closer is good, though it does make me wonder if Pantone is being helpful, or just decided sales on the Color Bridge swatch book were off and needed a boost? Who knows, but Adobe CS3 decided it was important enough to change the CMYK equivalents in their programs, and this is where the problem lies. You no longer use your normal Pantone Pallet to match the new Pantone Color Bridge colors. So who cares, if I have an old color bridge and I use my old color pallet, I will be fine right? Well maybe, unless you assign Pantone colors and your printers RIP separates the color into CMYK for you. What version is your printer using? Color is hard enough without leaving it to chance, you really have to be on top of this if you want see what you expected coming off the press.

Let me give you an example:

I recently did a logo, the Pantone Color was 368. The normal pallet I use in Adobe Illustrator is Pantone Solid Coated, the CMYK value in Adobe Illustrator's Pantone Solid Coated pallet for Pantone 368 is C:57, M:0, Y:100, K:0, But the new Pantone Color Bridge book, the one my printer uses, says C:63, M:0, Y:97, K:0 for Pantone 368.

I know what your thinking, Great I have a customer that has to have that green match the most perfect Kiwi fruit they saw once on vacation, now I have to go and adjust all my colors by hand or maybe tweak it on press, aaarrrrggghh. Settle down, deep breaths, you just need to use a new Pantone Pallet in Adobe CS3. Adobe decided to help us out and put in a new pallet that matches the new Pantone bridge. This is good, though it does make me wonder if Adobe is being helpful, or just decided sales on the CS2 suite were off and needed a boost. Who knows, but the new pallet to use is Pantone Color Bridge CMYK PC for coated stock. There are three Color Bridge pallets, EC, PC, UP , and the best I can tell from what I read is it has to do with the type of Paper trying to be simulated. For the US coated paper PC is the correct pallet. EC is Euro, and it does not list UP, but I assume it is uncoated.

Click here to see what Pantone says.

A side benefit of this is, now you can use the same color pallet in all your Adobe CS3 programs to achieve the same results, you do not have to have one Pallet for Illustrator and a different one for Photoshop.

I am glad the companies that produce tools for designers are always striving to improve them for us. I just wish they would shout about it a little more and not wait for us to stumble onto it.

Thanks to Troy at Litho Flexo for being on the ball and pointing this out to me.

If you would like to read more about color and Adobe CS3, look at these:

There are some interesting new color tools in CS3.

Where are the color pallets now?


steph k said...

It would be nice for them to let us know! This is going to be a big help!

Anonymous said...

I ran into the same problem. I think that the answer lies here...



Anonymous said...

Cheers, great help - Artworker - London