Color shift in Pantone color when exporting to PNG?

New Here ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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I do a lot of logo design, delivering vector EPS files and raster PNG files to clients.

 

When creating PNG files, I've been using the File > Export > Export As function.

 

In Illustrator, the Color Picker gives me particular RGB and HEX specs for selected Pantone Matching System (PMS) colors. I have always been under the imprression that these RGB and HEX specs stay consistent when using the Export As function to create a transparent PNG of a vector logo file.

 

I have recently discovered, however, that this is NOT the case. When using the Export As function, the RGB and HEX specs of PMS colors are NOT consistent with the specs shown in Illustrator, becoming slightly more flat and dull.

 

How can one export a transparent PNG file from a PMS-defined Illustrator file keeping the RGB and HEX specs consistent?

 

Thanks for any help.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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Is your Illustrator document mode CMYK or RGB?

Pantone colors are ink mixes, and of course you cannot export an ink to an png file which uses RGB values.

What is your document color profile? You can see that at the bottom of your document window.

Unfortunately Illustrator does not export profiles when exporting png files, so other apps just have to guess.

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New Here ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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Thanks for your reply, Ton.

 

The document color mode (File > Document Color Mode) is CMYK. I'm using Illustrator 25.2.3.

 

I'm afraid I don't see anything regarding a document color profile at the bottom of my document window.

 

I understand PMS colors being inks and such. As I mentioned, Illustrator's Color Picker shows me a specific set of RGB and HEX equivalents from a given PMS color. When I go into Photoshop and create a new file specifying the exact same PMS color, Photoshop gives me the same RGB and HEX equivalents. My expectation, then, is that the PNG file generated from my Illustrator EPS file would show me those RGB and HEX specs.

 

Something is shifting, however, and I can't figure out what is causing that shift.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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At the bottom you can choose what to show there:

Doc profile.png

In a CMYK document, a conversion takes place to the RGB Working space of your Color Settings (View >Color Settings...). If that is anything else than sRGB, other applications will guess wrong and you have to assing that profile in Photoshop to the exported file.

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New Here ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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Thanks for the heads up for revealing the color space in the doc window, Ton. That's one of those little details that can escape you...!

 

The RGB Working Space of my CMYK document is indeed sRGB. Even with that, it still shifts the color.

 

On a hunch, however, I tried converting the Document Color Mode to RGB, then executing an Export As. Voila, the sampled RGB and HEX specs were correct on the other end in Photoshop.

 

It's unfortunately not the cleanest solution for my workflow. My challenge is that I'm delivering vector EPS logo files with PMS color specs in a CMYK color space to the client as final brand identity deliverables. As part of my process, I provide them with screen-ready PNG files as well. Using Export As is an easy, time-efficient solution. Having to add a step by converting to an RGB color space will be a pain, but, it is what it is, I suppose.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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Do you convert Pantone color in Illustrator to RGB or do you leave it as Book color?

Are your color settings in Photoshop the same as in Illustrator?

It is useful to check the warning for Profile Mismatches and Missing Profiles

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New Here ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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Thanks, Ton. I've not been converting PMS to RGB, no. I've been leaving the PMS spec as is and exporting straight to PNG.

 

Looking at it more closely, it would appear one cannot convert to RGB in a CMYK document; the option is grayed out.

 

Color settings are the same between Illustrator and Photoshop, yes. Interestingly, under "Color Management Policies", RGB is defaulted to "Preserve Embedded Profiles." Unfortunately, switching to "Convert to Working RGB" and checking "Ask when opening" under "Profile mismatches" didn't change the results.

 

Unless I'm missing something else, it would appear I'm going to have to change the color setting for the document to RGB and THEN execute the Export As in order to get the result I want.

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LEGEND ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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Your expectation is natural, but not what happens. Typically, Pantone colours are stored as colour names and a Lab equivalent. Anuything else is subject to all sorts of settings, so there is no magic fixed RGB equivalent at all. Essentially, you should NOT be using Pantone spot colours except to put spot ink on paper. They are not a handy colour designer's tool, no matter how much they get used that way. 

 

If you want a fixed RGB colour (1) work in RGB mode (2) set the required RGB profile at the outset (3) set the colours in RGB. 

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New Here ,
May 25, 2021 May 25, 2021

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Thanks for your input, I appreciate your taking a moment to help.

 

If I may take moment to reply to this specifically:

 

"Essentially, you should NOT be using Pantone spot colours except to put spot ink on paper. They are not a handy colour designer's tool, no matter how much they get used that way."

 

I would argue Pantone specs are still very much relevent, ink on paper or not. Brand colors get used across all kinds of different applications, and having a set reference for color matching is critical. Even when most of my clients' print work is done digitally, and thus NOT spot, it's still a valuable resource for maintaining consistency across different projects.

 

Just my two cents. Thanks for the help.

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