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We all interpret colors differently. For example, say you were designing something, and you wanted to create something that was filled red. So, you call up your printer, and you tell him to print a certain job red, however, when the job comes back the red looks completely different than you had envisioned. After all, there are many different shades of red. So, many designers and printers rely on Formula Guides. These are preset colors that are defined with very specific values using very specific inks. Each of the colors that appear inside of this Formula Guides have a number, so rather than a designer telling a printer to print something in red, they would tell them to print something in 185.
One of the most popular guides used in the print and the design industry is something called Pantone. Pantone publishes a library of colors, and assigns a number to each of those colors. In this way, by choosing a specific number, you are assured that your printer will print that exact same shade of color. When you're working inside of Illustrator you have access to all these libraries of color. You can find them in one of two places: either up over here in the Window menu, you can scroll down to the bottom where it says Swatch Libraries, or you can come to this icon at the bottom-left of the Swatches panel called Swatch Libraries menu.
I'm going to click over here and scroll down to where it says Color Books. This basically refers to all the companies that publish books that contain all these colors that are specified by certain numbers. As I said before, Pantone is probably one of the most common ones used here in the United States, although other popular ones like Focoltone or Toyo might be used in other regions, for example, in Japan. Regarding Pantone specifically, they publish guides for not only different types of colors, for example, metallic, or pastel, or process or solid colors, but they'll also publish the same library for use when the colors are printed on either coated or uncoated paper stock.
The most popular library that's used though is PANTONE solid coated. I'm going to choose that option right here, and you'll see that the PANTONE solid coated library now appears on my screen as if it were its own Swatches panel. Here is an important thing to realize about how libraries work inside of Illustrator. I obviously don't want to add hundreds or thousands of colors directly to my document because then I'd have to scroll through them each time I want to apply them. So, the libraries here are kind of separate from my document. These colors are right now in a library, but they aren't in this specific document yet.
However, once I click on a color here, you'll notice that it automatically now gets added to my document's Swatches panel. So, just now, I added PANTONE 107 to my document. Many designers also have printed versions of these libraries. Pantone sells little booklets that contain little printed swatch of these colors, so it's easy to scroll through or flip through the book and find the color that you want. So, many times, a designer already has a number in mind for the color they want to use.
Well, to quickly jump to that color, I'm going to go to the flyout menu of the PANTONE solid coated panel. I'm going to choose this option here called Show Find Field. In my opinion, this field should actually be visible, by default, because it just makes it so much easier to find the colors that you want. I happen to know that a certain shade of red is PANTONE 185. So, I'm going to put my cursor now directly in the Find field and click and type in 185. In doing so, you can see that the panel jumps directly to that color right here.
If I click on that swatch, I've just successfully added it to my document. I can go ahead and I can close this, if I'm not using any more Pantone colors. Of course, Illustrator has many libraries of colors. I can always return to this icon right here and go to Color Books and choose a library from here, or I can choose from a variety of other colors or themes that are included with Illustrator. These, by the way, for example, Earthtone, or Foods or Kids Stuff are all processed colors, which I can easily apply to my document. One little tip: if you use Pantone colors quite often, or really any library for that matter, you may find it tedious to constantly go back to this icon and always load that library when you need it.
Well, if you have the extra screen real estate for it, you can open up any custom library, in this case, Pantone Solid Coated and from the flyout menu, check this option here called Persistent. When this option is turned on this custom library will always appear inside of Illustrator each time you launch the application.
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