Have you ever designed something and then been disappointed with the “look” of the colors on the final printed piece?
It’s very possible that problem happened because of issues with Pantone spot color versus process color in the printing of your item.
This video explains this common issue in greater detail and will help you avoid color problems in the future! If you prefer to read, scroll down for the full transcript.
Hi this is Marc.
Today we’re going to talk about the difference between Pantone and Process Color.
But first, the Pantone matching system is a universally accepted standard of identifying color. It works throughout the world. It’s an easy way to let someone know what color you have in mind if you’re printing something.
There are really two types of papers that we can print on today – coated and uncoated.
This formula guide is for uncoated papers. Meaning that it shows inside swatches, or color chips, that are used to see what ink colors will look like when they are printed on an uncoated paper.
Coated papers have certain pigments and coatings that are pounded or rolled in this case or calendared into the actual paper when it’s manufactured to give it a really flat surface that reflects light and makes it shine.
In the case of uncoated papers you can see here for example Pantone 7480 looks like this.
In this different guide we’ll see what 7480 looks like when it’s printed on a coated sheet. The difference is that the green looks kind of brighter and punchier.
We’re really only concerned with how 7480 or Pantone 7480 looks when it’s printed in a spot color or solid, which is what you see here on the left, and what it looks like when it’s printed here on this side [right] by combining Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.
CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black are the same ink colors used in your home printer or at places where you’re having photos printed.
The Pantone solid color does not translate. Because there’s no way to combine Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black to create the exact same look.
That’s why if you’re designing things yourself, in-house, you may be disappointed with printed pieces. Because what your monitor will reproduce is completely different and when it’s printed it can look in this case much darker.
These are spot color [shows examples of envelopes printed in spot color]
This is a Pantone spot color black envelope.
Here’s one that is printed in red and black.
Blue and black. [shows a third example]
And here is a very similar red as you saw with this [red and black envelope] but produced using Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black.
Now we knew when we produced this logo that it was going look different between spot and processed color because we’ve already talked about that. So we made a conscious decision to change the color to this deeper red color.
So that’s the difference between Pantone spot and processed color.
There are also metallic inks. You can’t produce metallic inks using cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) but there are metallic inks that can be used.
If you can’t accomplish the color you’re looking for most printing presses will have six or eight or ten ink towers so you can take CMYK and you can add a fifth color or a sixth color. And that way you can achieve the color you are looking for. Otherwise, as you saw in some of the earlier examples, it’s almost impossible.
If you’re going to go to a shop and you’re going to have your Pantone spot colors added it IS going to increase the cost because there’s what are called “wash-ups” where the printing press has to be washed out and new colors are added.
So there’s always an extra cost if you’re going to go with spot colors on a processed color job. But best to just kind of keep it simple and work with an expert, work with someone that you trust to get the results that you’re looking for.
Thanks for watching our Pantone Spot and Process Color video. We’ve got lots of other great videos. Please check them out! Thanks!