Graphics - Pantone Color Bridge: What Changed?

Color Bridge: What Changed?

Pantone is committed to providing color management guidance that reflects key industry developments and practices. As printing technology continues to evolve, we have made some improvements to our Color Bridge Guide, which will enable designers, printers, and brand managers to better evaluate color options when it comes to choosing between Pantone Spot Color inks or CMYK process printing.

Integrating Industry Standards

When printing our Color Bridge Guide, we use the G7 calibration methodology used by most printers today. G7 calibration assures consistent gray balance, which is the foundation for accurate process printing. Color Bridge Guides that are properly calibrated provide more reliable guidance on what results you can expect when reproducing Pantone colors with typical CMYK process printing.

Color Bridge: What Changed?

The color values printed in the Coated and Uncoated versions of the Color Bridge Guides correlate with industry standards for printing on coated and uncoated stock. By configuring your design software to use those standards, your values should match, allowing you to better anticipate how your color should look when your design is printed.

Color Bridge Guide is printed on paper stock commonly used throughout the industry, which contains OBAs (Optical Brightening Agents). Paper made with OBAs typically appears very bright, with a slightly blueish hue. This effect can change based on the amount of UV light present in a light source, and thus can impact the way colors look when printed on the paper.

Guide Production Using M1 Illumination Condition

This means the color measurement instrument used an ISO compliant amount of ultraviolet (UV) light when measuring. This is important as the paper we use aligns to common paper stock within the industry, which contains OBAs (Optical Brightening Agents). Paper including OBAs typically appear very bright and with a blueish hue. This effect can change based on the amount of UV light is contained in the illumination. By standardizing the UV content, measurements between print suppliers is more consistent.

Color Bridge: What Changed?

The guide is produced using the M1 illumination condition. M1 is an ISO-compliant measurement standard that reduces variations in results between color measuring instruments, caused by the fluorescence of OBAs (optical brightening agents) used in many paper stocks. Paper including OBAs typically appears very white, and can have a blueish hue when compared to papers without OBAs. This effect can change based on the amount of UV light contained in the illumination, and thus can distort the appearance of color printed on a particular paper stock. The M1 illumination condition standardizes the UV content, ensuring measurements between print suppliers are more consistent.

Comparing Solid PANTONE Colors to their Process Equivalents

The Pantone Color Bridge Guide is used to determine when it may be possible to adequately reproduce a solid Pantone Color in CMYK. Referencing the guide, locate the desired Pantone Matching System® Color and compare to its match printed in CMYK. If the CMYK match is not visually acceptable, the color should remain specified as a solid spot color. If the CMYK match is adequate for your application, it can be created by entering the screen tint percentages into the CMYK color picker in your software application.

Color Bridge: What Changed?

These values are good starting points, specifically when your print process is aligned to the standard ISO print conditions outlined on page IV in the guide. However, if printing using alternative conditions, particularly papers with different color or surface characteristics, we recommend using your own design software’s color management configuration to convert Pantone Solid Coated Libraries to CMYK for best results.

Color Bridge: What Changed?

Why Do the Values Differ Between the Guide and Different Design Applications?

Conversion of Pantone Spot color into CMYK, RGB, or other color systems is dependent on the specific print conditions for a given application. Therefore, the values provided within this guide are not absolute, but rather starting points. If absolute accuracy is needed, we recommend conferring with your printer or software vendor to adjust the color conversion process for your specific substrate and printing process.

Why Do the CMYK Colors Differ Between My Old and New Color Bridge Guides?

In process printing methods such as CMYK, a solid, formulated color is emulated by the interaction of multiple colors. Any variation in process, registration, substrate, ink, density, or other related variables can alter the final appearance of color. Guides are now produced without manually adjusting individual colors, in order to illustrate results you might expect to achieve from a typical commercial print production process.

Other Reasons for Visible Color Variation Between Old and New Guides

The appearance of colors in guides and books can change over time as a result of handling, fading, improper storage, and light exposure, among other factors. Additionally, production variables can cause changes in color lightness, hue and chroma from print run to print run, including: paper composition and absorption, inks (specifically pigment source, viscosity, and drying conditions), and print variation due to ink metering, production speed, and environmental factors. For these reasons, we do not consider the colors in our printed guides the official color standards, but rather representations of the master standard color data. Pantone recommends replacing guides and books every 12-18 months, as normal usage and exposure may render your colors inaccurate over time.

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