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Which CMYK value to use from Pantone conversion?

Community Beginner ,
Oct 23, 2020

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Hi everyone,

 

I'm hoping somebody might be able to help me out with a Pantone color match question. I'm trying to find the best CMYK match for some brand colors (I'd used an online conversion previously and have since realized what a mistake that was), but I'm confused about what I've discovered.

 

For example, take PMS 2398 C:

 

On the Pantone website, the best CMYK match is 97 31 11 59, and the hex is #00BAB3.

 

2398 C Pantone Color Finder.png

 

And when I search for it in the Pantone Connect extension, I get the same results.

 

2398 C Pantone Color Finder in Adobe.png

 

However, when I drag the Pantone Connect swatch over to my CC library, it changes the Hex/RGB values slightly (from #00BAB3 to #00B8B4). Also, when I enter the recommended CMYK values (75,0,34,0), Adobe tells me the hex value should be #00b9b7.

 

I also tried converting the PMS value to CMYK and RGB following this guide, which gave me CMYK 80,0,37,0 and Hex #00B6B2. 

 

I'm guessing I shouldn't follow the linked guide, or pay attention to Adobe conversions, and just enter the Pantone #CMYK and RGB values directly, but I wanted to check. Why does Adobe alter the values so much when converting them? And why did it even alter them slightly when all I did was drag it over from the Pantone Connect extension to my CC library? I'm just trying to find what will be the most accurate CMYK match for professional printing.

 

Oh, and to further confuse things, I know I should ignore online sites, but when I enter the CMYK value online, it looks altogether different and is matched to ANOTHER entirely different HEX code. Why?! 

 

Online CMYK.png

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by rob day | Adobe Community Professional

Also, it looks like there is a bad bug in the latest Pantone Connect extension. The PANTONE Color Bridge libraries should be defined as process CMYK values—Pantone’s suggested process CMYK value that will simulate the solid ink color.

 

Pantone introduced the Bridge libraries with CS6 in order to clarify the difference between spot and process colors.

 

If you choose a Bridge color in the extension, the suggested CMYK value is listed on the swatch, but if you add it to the InDesign Swatches panel you’ll get a Lab swatch (which defeats the purpose of the Bridge libraries). To get the suggested CMYK value, you would need to manually make the swatch as CMYK, or select the Bridge color directly from the ID Swatches pane—Swatches>New Color>Color Mode>PANTONE Bridge

 

 

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Which CMYK value to use from Pantone conversion?

Community Beginner ,
Oct 23, 2020

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Hi everyone,

 

I'm hoping somebody might be able to help me out with a Pantone color match question. I'm trying to find the best CMYK match for some brand colors (I'd used an online conversion previously and have since realized what a mistake that was), but I'm confused about what I've discovered.

 

For example, take PMS 2398 C:

 

On the Pantone website, the best CMYK match is 97 31 11 59, and the hex is #00BAB3.

 

2398 C Pantone Color Finder.png

 

And when I search for it in the Pantone Connect extension, I get the same results.

 

2398 C Pantone Color Finder in Adobe.png

 

However, when I drag the Pantone Connect swatch over to my CC library, it changes the Hex/RGB values slightly (from #00BAB3 to #00B8B4). Also, when I enter the recommended CMYK values (75,0,34,0), Adobe tells me the hex value should be #00b9b7.

 

I also tried converting the PMS value to CMYK and RGB following this guide, which gave me CMYK 80,0,37,0 and Hex #00B6B2. 

 

I'm guessing I shouldn't follow the linked guide, or pay attention to Adobe conversions, and just enter the Pantone #CMYK and RGB values directly, but I wanted to check. Why does Adobe alter the values so much when converting them? And why did it even alter them slightly when all I did was drag it over from the Pantone Connect extension to my CC library? I'm just trying to find what will be the most accurate CMYK match for professional printing.

 

Oh, and to further confuse things, I know I should ignore online sites, but when I enter the CMYK value online, it looks altogether different and is matched to ANOTHER entirely different HEX code. Why?! 

 

Online CMYK.png

Adobe Community Professional
Correct answer by rob day | Adobe Community Professional

Also, it looks like there is a bad bug in the latest Pantone Connect extension. The PANTONE Color Bridge libraries should be defined as process CMYK values—Pantone’s suggested process CMYK value that will simulate the solid ink color.

 

Pantone introduced the Bridge libraries with CS6 in order to clarify the difference between spot and process colors.

 

If you choose a Bridge color in the extension, the suggested CMYK value is listed on the swatch, but if you add it to the InDesign Swatches panel you’ll get a Lab swatch (which defeats the purpose of the Bridge libraries). To get the suggested CMYK value, you would need to manually make the swatch as CMYK, or select the Bridge color directly from the ID Swatches pane—Swatches>New Color>Color Mode>PANTONE Bridge

 

 

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Oct 23, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 23, 2020

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None of the automatic conversions or pre-set matches are perfect. Some are reasonalby close, and some are pretty far off. I have had better luck using the Solid Color fan guide and the CMYK fan guide, and doing my own comparison until I found the match that looked the closest to me.

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Oct 23, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 23, 2020

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The Pantone Coated solid ink colors are defined as Lab, so the Lab value listed in the Pantone Connect Extension is the actual color you will get when you add the color to your Swatches panel.

 

The sRGB and Hex values listed in Connect would be Pantone’s suggested conversion from Lab into sRGB, but there are a number of color preference settings that would affect the conversion if you make it with a CC app— Pantone doesn’t let you know how they make their conversions. 

 

Changing the document’s assigned RGB profile, or the Conversion Options in Color Settings (Intent, or Engine) would affect the RBG or RGB Hex conversion numbers you get in the Color Picker. If I open your color in InDesign’s Color Picker,  the Lab values exactly match the Connect Lab values. The RGB, Hex, and CMYK values are color managed conversions from Lab color based on the document’s assigned color settings:

 

Screen Shot 13.png

 

If I open Color Settings and change the Intent and Engine, it affects the RGB conversion numbers:

 

Screen Shot 14.png

 

Screen Shot 15.png

 

 

If I change the document’s assigned CMYK profile, the Picker’s CMYK conversion is affected by the changed output profile assignment. Hex values are an RGB notation, so a CMYK value has to be converted back to RGB in order to get a hex equivalent.

 

Web conversion charts are basically worthless because HTML code has no color management capabilities.

 

Here’s the 2398C Lab conversion to Euroscale Coated CMYK

 

Screen Shot 16.png

 

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Oct 23, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 23, 2020

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So, in addition to the heady stuff Rob just illuminated, here are 2 questions for you:

1. How have you set up your color management method from Photoshop and on down to InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat PDF?

2. What color mode is your InDesign document? CMYK or RGB (check Edit > Transparency Blendspace > )

and maybe a third question:

3. Are you intending to turn on the Proof Colors switch (View menu) in order to get InDesign to pretend to look like the output colorspace

All 2 or 3 of these color situations can trigger a translation of that color value you want.

Mike Witherell

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Oct 23, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Oct 26, 2020

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Thanks Mike! To answer your questions, I have my color settings synchronized across apps to North America General Purpose 2, with RGB at sRGB IEC1966-2.1 and CMYK at US Web Coated (SWOP) v2. RGB is set to preserve embedded profiles, and CMYK is set to "preserve numbers (ignore linked profiles)". At the time I posted this question, I had the color mode in CMYK, but I'll need to have some documents in RGB color mode as well.

 

I guess I'm still just a little confused as to what process to follow for something like a brand standards document. I need to be able to give CMYK and RGB values to a range of folks with different design knowledge.

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Oct 26, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Oct 26, 2020

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(And in addition, vendors)

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Oct 26, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Oct 26, 2020

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"I need to be able to give CMYK and RGB values to a range of folks with different design knowledge." As I said, DON'T DO THIS!! I wrote " And stop putting uncalibrated CMYK, RGB and hex in branding guides, it is dangerous to your brand! "

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Oct 26, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Oct 26, 2020

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I'm looking for a solution, and am a beginner, @Test Screen Name. If you have an alternative method I could follow, that would be helpful. Otherwise, I am still lost and only further confused by your comments. 

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Oct 26, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Oct 26, 2020

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The point we are trying to make is that converting a standard colour to RGB or to CMYK will give results that will not give consistent colour, because RGB "numbers" and CMYK "numbers" are not the same for everyone. That means if you put them in a branding guide you will produce an inconstent branding, and the brand will suffer. So don't. You HAVE a standard colour, PMS 2398 C. That is what belongs in the branding guide.

 

You MIGHT also add a web colour, made by convering to sRGB (specifically sRGB, not just some random RGB). This is needed because web design is based on RGB (also known as hex colours, but the same thing), and sRGB is the web standard. 

 

On no account include any conversion to CMYK. People who need to work in CMYK need the requisite knowledge to work with Lab simulations and convert to their target device, and if they can't do that, they should not be allowed near CMYK work.

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Oct 26, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Oct 26, 2020

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By the way, I am trying to be kind, but I can see it doesn't come over that way. I am trying to steer you away from a path which can have bad consequences for your company (vague, random branding) and for you personally (called on to explain why the branding you created has produced vague, random results). If I am being forceful it is because you seem unwilling to move away from this path, and just keep coming round and round to wanting some RGB and CMYK colours for your task.

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Oct 26, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Oct 30, 2020

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I think it's the all caps that make it seem that way. 🙂

 

I would be willing to remove the CMYK values from our branding guide. If people ask for our logo in that format (or I need to use it myself; for example, right now I'm trying to figure out the best way to send it out for some promotional items we're ordering), you're saying the best thing to do would be to open the logo in a CMYK document, make sure all the colors are in Lab/Pantone values, and export it that way?

 

I don't really have another way around it (long story), so I hope the answer is yes, but do designers/printers accept images that have both Pantone C colors and Pantone CP colors?

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Oct 30, 2020 0
kgbf LATEST
Community Beginner ,
Nov 05, 2020

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Sorry, forgot to tag you in my reply above, @Test Screen Name!

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Nov 05, 2020 0
Most Valuable Participant ,
Oct 24, 2020

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There is no standard conversion to CMYK. None at all. Pantone stopped giving one years ago for this reason. But the need of their customers for this myth to be true meant that they put back the conversions, even though they are nonsense. Rather than digging deeper and finding even more numbers, I'd recommend studying colour management until you can see why it's nonsense. And stop putting uncalibrated CMYK, RGB and hex in branding guides, it is dangerous to your brand! 

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Oct 24, 2020 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 24, 2020

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 Pantone stopped giving one years ago for this reason.

 

The PANTONE + Color Bridge libraries are defined as process CMYK simulations, and the PANTONE + Solid libraries are defined as Lab Spots, which would be instrument read from printed solid ink swatches.

 

The libraries that ship with CC haven’t been updated since CS6, now you have to use the Pantone Color Manager app in order to export updated .acb libraries.

 

 

Screen Shot 23.png

 

 

 

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Oct 24, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Oct 26, 2020

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I can understand why it's nonsense, but there also has to be something to share with other people who need to use brand colors/logos in their work. (To add to that, I work for a nonprofit and am learning this as I go. Please be kind.) What do you recommend putting in a branding guide?

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Oct 26, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 26, 2020

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Oct 26, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 24, 2020

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<snip>

 

Had a much longer post - with wonderful images and setup solution for this - but the forum cut the images out and cut my post short. 

 

I will revisit with a better post shortly.

 

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Oct 24, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
Oct 26, 2020

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@Eugene Tyson I look forward to reading it soon!

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