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Assigning a spot color to a % of a spot color?!

New Here ,
Aug 14, 2018 Aug 14, 2018

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Hello all,

We are hoping to gain a little expert advice. Our organization has specified spot colors in our VIG. We also call out the use the percentages of these spot colors. For instance our logo utilizes a 60% version of our primary color.

However, our VIG doesn't doesn't currently call out spot colors for these percentages. The only place this is a problem for us is when we are printing CMYK... otherwise known as "Most of the time".

The issue we have is that we have nothing to match to or control when using these % colors. What are some good ways to accurately assign a spot color to a % of an existing spot color?

Kyle

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Mentor ,
Aug 14, 2018 Aug 14, 2018

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One way would be to load the spot color in Photoshop then give it 60% opacity.  Then, double click on the swatch and Photoshop should be able to assign a spot color in the picker and/or assign a CMYK percentage.  However, there may not be a spot color that matches the 60% tint of the original spot color.  If you can, check Pantone's Color Formula Guide.  For instance, a Pantone 388 60% could be Pantone 387.  Can you tell us what the original spot color is?  Another way is to use the CMYK percentages of the original spot color, then muliply each by .6 to get what 60% would be of the original spot color at 60% ( in CMYK ).  You could then load those percentages into Photoshop's color picker and see what the closest spot color would be.  Proceed with caution because color is subject to your version of Photoshop's color settings.  

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New Here ,
Aug 14, 2018 Aug 14, 2018

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J,

PMS 300 is our primary color. We are looking to spot out 60% and 30%.

We do have CMYK values for both 60% 60 26 0 0 , 30% 30 13 0 0) and did the color picker technique. We came up with 284 and 277 respectively.

We also shared this information with one of our vendors they came up with 7453 and 2708 after their review.

We would love additional input, insight or techniques to dial in on this the best we can!

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Mentor ,
Aug 14, 2018 Aug 14, 2018

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The only thing I would recommend is keeping the color close to its family ( i.e., 299 and 297 ).  Your 284 and 277 are cooler blues than the 300.  The best way is to use Pantone's printed reference guides.  Even then, it will be difficult to find a standard match.  Some companies have created their own spot color ( a custom ink mix used on-press ).  This would require an ink formula from a professional ink mixer.  The new formula may be difficult to mimic digitally ( monitor, proofer ). That in itself may be cause not to use a custom mix.

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New Here ,
Aug 14, 2018 Aug 14, 2018

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J,

Do you see any flaws with the following test.

Work with a print vendor to run an offset sample of PMS 300 at 100%, 60% and 30% to create a hard copy standard we can use as a reference point to select any other recommended spot?

We're certainly not in a position to create a custom spot color, especially as these %'s are often secondary.

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Mentor ,
Aug 14, 2018 Aug 14, 2018

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Yes, very good idea.  The only problem is paper.  You will have to take the paper into consideration.  Obviously a coated sheet with a very bright white ( 90+ ) when testing a "C" color.  Do a test sheet using fairly large swatches and perhaps a standard usage item such as stationery or cover.  The only drawback is cost.  Definitely worth the investment.

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Community Expert ,
Aug 17, 2018 Aug 17, 2018

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Hi,

How about using Lab to define the color/s ?

I am sure you are aware that Pantone colors are process and paper specific and also they are really definitions for specially mixed inks - an "extra" color on press.

Yes, there are CMYK equivalents quoted but those are totally printing process and paper stock specific.

The exact same ink (or CMYK ink mix) on different paper potentially produces wildly varying results.

If the print vendor is able to give you an accurate ICC profile to define the print process, [or maybe they use a standards based profile and match to the standard well.] Then your art can be converted to CMYK accurately at the point of exporting the PDF.

It seems crazy to me to specify pantone color when an extra color is not going to be used in the print process. Lab is so much better as it's totally device and process independent

I hope this helps

if so, please do mark my reply as "helpful"

thanks

neil barstow, colourmanagement

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