dperry1973 t1_j212ojk wrote

Any commercial printing press will have capacity for CMYK ink plus multiple Pantone inks. A machine called a raster image processor reads say a PDF and generates individual printing plates for every color specified by the designer/client. A designer will apply Pantone color stickers to the ink jet or laser printout that the designer sends along with the digital file so that the print shop can prepare the printing plates and Pantone inks for the job. A machine like the automated paint mixers in a hardware store are used to mix up Pantone inks that a print shop doesn’t have on hand. There’s obviously an upcharge for custom inks which the cost is tacked into the bill. Clients will fire a designer for allowing the wrong Pantone colors to go to press. If a Pantone code is in the specification doc isn’t used by the print shop, the print shop will eat the cost of the mistake. There’s a “nobody got fired for choosing Pantone colors when it matters” mentality amongst designers and printers.


dperry1973 t1_j1y31sl wrote

Industrial design. Linus at Linus Tech Tips uses Pantone plastic chips to ensure their vendors make merch with the exact colors in LTT’s color standards manual for their creative team.

Personally I use Pantone’s Bridge book which has swatches that are consistent from print, video, web, and social media because I deal with corporate clients with documentation up the wazoo on how to use their brand name in their project


dperry1973 t1_j1y16eo wrote

"So was the CMYK conversion impossible or just rushed? Like if you took the Pantone color you wanted to a color matching computer or something, and printed out a CMYK, they’d still be different?"

Converting to CMYK causes a color shift because Pantone's spot ink formula has at times no 100% direct translation to CMYK. Spot inks are more like paint at the hardware store where RGB/CMYK is like scanning a paint chip from one store and having another store mix it. Sometimes the results are a bit off.

"And how does this work for a computer file?"

It's all coordinated magic between the graphics software, your operating system, and the output device. Your graphics app embeds a color correction profile which the OS uses to instruct the printer how to match the colors. But this tech is not a 100% rock solid science. Sometimes math doesn't convert colors correctly. That's why us old-timers will get a test print from the print shop before making an expensive mistake. Technology can fail.


dperry1973 t1_j1vqygw wrote

RGB doesn’t translate well to print media because print inks are ether Standard CMYK or Pantone. Commercial printer inks can reproduce a range of colors which can’t be 100% reproduced with RGB because RGB is more restricted. Look up “color spaces”.

I did a logo in Pantone coated ink and the client slashed the budget which required pivoting to standard CMYK inks. The brick red I chose came out as cherry red because those two reds don’t translate. The deep teal I picked came out as navy. This is the challenge of dealing with incompatible color spaces.