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About the new Pantone Plus color system

From: Print Production Essentials: Spot Colors and Varnish

Video: About the new Pantone Plus color system

In the graphic art, you hear the word Pantone a lot and it's often used interchangeably with spot color. But Pantone, the company is not an ink manufacturer, they're a manufacturer of color reference guide. And in fact they're not limited to printing. They market color guides for plastics and for textiles. But you've probably seen the new Pantone Plus system. And you might be curious between that, and maybe your old Pantone book right there on your desk. Well for one thing, there are more colors. The older PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM had 1,114 colors.

About the new Pantone Plus color system

In the graphic art, you hear the word Pantone a lot and it's often used interchangeably with spot color. But Pantone, the company is not an ink manufacturer, they're a manufacturer of color reference guide. And in fact they're not limited to printing. They market color guides for plastics and for textiles. But you've probably seen the new Pantone Plus system. And you might be curious between that, and maybe your old Pantone book right there on your desk. Well for one thing, there are more colors. The older PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM had 1,114 colors.

The new PANTONE PLUS started with 1,341, and then they added 336, so now there's a total of 1,677. And you'll also notice that the new fan books are arranged chromatically, so they go by the spectrum instead of numerically. Which I think makes sense, but if you have the old habit of looking for particular swatches by their numbers. Don't worry there's a numerical index in the back, so you can find it either way. If you're looking for it by the number, you can use the index, if you just want to look at the colors, that's the way the book is arranged. And you might notice that it's on thinner stock, and that's actually intentional. The idea is to be more like the majority of real world print jobs, and text weight is the most commonly used stock.

And you might be glad to know also that it's FSC-certified paper. There's a helpful PDF reference available about the Pantone Plus system, and it'll tell you about the thinking in creating this new system, and it'll give you some ideas for how you can correctly implement that new system. Pantone guides include the Pantone Plus Formula Guide, which is what ink technicians use to mix up the spot color inks. And then, of course, there's the Pantone Plus Extra 336 colors Formula Guide. There's also a new series of metallics called the Premium Metallics.

Now, you still have the traditional metallics, the difference is, that the premium metallics are based on a very fine grained silver. It's a very, very small pigment, very smooth coverage. And supposedly you can even coat it and not lose luster, like you can with some of the traditional metallics. So, you might want to look at that if you're working on very high profile jobs. Then the Pantone Plus Pastels & Neons very bright and colorful. And I always tell, especially new people starting in the graphic arts, if you're only going to buy one Pantone book, they are expensive. But let's consider it runs on a 28-color press, the only one in the world, and there are incredibly tight tolerances.

But if you're just going to buy one, get the Pantone Plus Color Bridge. And the reason is that it gives you sort of the best of both worlds. It shows you spot colors, next to their closest CMYK equivalents. That way you have a reference, whether you're printing spot or you're printing process. So, again if you're just going to get one, that would be the one at least to get you started. Now, one of the things that happened when Pantone Plus was released is that the method of thinking about the color, or the method of storing the matte of the color, changed a little bit.

For those of us that are using Adobe programs, this might become an issue if you're trying to match old jobs. So, if you find that you're reprinting a job that you had specked in spot, but then printed in process, you're going to have a problem. And it's always best if you know that you're going to print in process, always specify it in process. Don't specify a spot color and then print in process and be surprised that it doesn't match, after all that's why we have spot colors. So, it's always best to start with CMYK values. But here's what happened, previously Adobe applications used a set of CMYK values that had been supplied to them by PANTONE.

And the PANTONE PLUS colors are described in Lab values, now I'm not going to go deeply into what Lab is, but it's an enormous color space and it isn't specific to any device. And it's not limited to the range of CMYK. So, now if you pick a spot color in InDesign or Illustrator or even Photoshop and then you convert it to CMYK that conversion is going to be based on those new Lab values not on those old CMYK values. The short story is that this means that CMYK values on an new job will not match the CMYK values on an old job. And then if you look at your newer copy of the Color Bridge. And you look at an old Pantone Color Bridge, you're going to see that the CMYK recipes have changed even within the Pantone books. Now why would that be? Well for one thing it's modernization. There have been improvements in pigments, and there had been substantial improvements over, oh gosh, the last 10 or 15 years, in the computerized press controls.

That control register, control ink coverage, and we can run to higher standards then we could before. So, again in the interest in realism you're going to find that those books give different values then they did in the old days. Now, do you really need to buy a new Pantone book every year? Well, far be it for me to argue with the only 28-color press in the world, but I will tell you that if you take very good care of them, they will last probably at least 366 days. But, really, take good care of them, avoid heat, avoid sunlight, don't leave them in your car, avoid humidity. And it's best if you keep the original packaging and you keep them in there. You want to treat them right, they are very valuable. They are something you can hang your hat on when you're picking a color, so treat them well, they're your friends.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Print Production Essentials: Spot Colors and Varnish
 
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  1. 2m 37s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      33s
    3. Using the exercise files
      33s
  2. 19m 15s
    1. Why spot colors are necessary
      2m 32s
    2. Examples of spot color impact
      1m 45s
    3. Spot or process: Making the decision
      5m 31s
    4. Choosing a spot color
      4m 11s
    5. About the new Pantone Plus color system
      5m 16s
  3. 13m 23s
    1. How spot color inks are created
      6m 8s
    2. Considerations when using certain spot colors
      2m 35s
    3. Effects of stock on color
      2m 6s
    4. Proofing spot and special-mix colors before printing
      1m 0s
    5. Spot colors and digital printing
      1m 34s
  4. 5m 5s
    1. How spot varnishes can enhance a project
      1m 10s
    2. How varnishes, inks, and substrate interact
      2m 30s
    3. Combining different types of varnish to add dimensions
      35s
    4. Aqueous flood coatings
      50s
  5. 28m 26s
    1. Creating a multitone image (duotone and tritone)
      10m 59s
    2. Creating a simple spot color channel
      6m 30s
    3. Creating a touch plate to enhance a color image
      7m 25s
    4. Creating a spot varnish
      3m 32s
  6. 23m 14s
    1. Adding Pantone color swatches
      5m 18s
    2. Using Overprint Preview to proof the display of spot color transparency
      2m 58s
    3. 3D shading: Preview with overprint on
      2m 22s
    4. Converting spot colors to process
      3m 11s
    5. Creating a varnish
      5m 52s
    6. Creating spot gradients
      3m 33s
  7. 17m 44s
    1. Importing art containing spot color content and resolving issues with Ink Manager
      4m 28s
    2. Using Overprint Preview to proof the display of spot color transparency
      2m 30s
    3. Converting spot colors to process
      2m 29s
    4. Creating a spot varnish
      5m 35s
    5. Creating and using mixed inks
      2m 42s
  8. 7m 10s
    1. Examining with Output Preview
      4m 11s
    2. Using preflight profiles
      2m 59s
  9. 1m 9s
    1. What I hope you've learned in this course
      51s
    2. Next steps
      18s

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