Color Consistency – Pantone Matching System

Pantone Matching System PMS SwatchIn this article I would like to talk about the Pantone Matching System (PMS) and its various uses. For those of you who are not familiar with the CMYK and PMS color processes, please visit our infocenter pages to learn more about the Pantone Matching System (PMS) or our page on CMYK and color separation.

Coca-Cola Logo using PMS
Coca Cola®

Pantone Colors and Branding

Now, just about everyone in the world is familiar with Coca-cola print ads and the use of the color red in its branding. What most people might not realize is that the red is a specific color “tint” that is used consistently throughout Coca-Cola’s advertising, a variation between PMS 484 and 485 although no specific Pantone color is specified (CMYK values can vary as well). This “Coke Red” color is claimed as “a feature of the mark” as written in Coke’s trademark with the USPTO.

In some cases, differences between a logo’s use of color or symbols (including type) as it applies to their memorability do exist and can lead to a hefty discussion. In my opinion and in this case, Coca-cola has made great use of both color and symbol (type) to leverage “Brand Stickiness”.

Pantone Matching System Color Schemes

Color and Purpose

Establishing a color scheme before starting a print project is key to providing the client with the most effective design possible. A logo for example, should be easily printable in either color or black ink only. Budgets and the purpose of the print can vary and will affect how the logo will be printed. When printing an NCR Form, the difference in price between full color (CMYK), PMS colors or black ink only can be quite significant. Most NCR forms are used for record keeping such as receipts, not as a marketing piece. Therefore, having a full color logo printed on an NCR Form might just be a waste of money that could in turn be used for marketing! On the other hand, having a CMYK version of your logo will come in very handy when printing full color brochures or full color postcards. Some clients might have a strict branding plan that demands the use of say a 2 PMS color logo to be printed with a full color brochure which basically renders a costly 6 color job. But hey, some budgets allow for that and as a designer or print buyer, it is your duty to consider these possibilities when establishing a brand.

Pantone Matching System PMS Illustrator Swatch Panel

Converting PMS colors to CMYK in Adobe Illustrator®

Using a Pantone Matching System Conversion Swatch is quite easy. As is using the Adobe Illustrator® swatch panel.

In Adobe Illustrator®, Pantone (PMS) colors are recognizable in the swatches panel by a white triangle in the bottom right corner which also has a black dot in the center.

– In your swatches panel, double click the PMS color and you will find that a dialogue box pops up titled “Swatch Options”.

– To change or view the corresponding CMYK values, simply click on the drop down menu labeled “Color Mode”, select CMYK and the value will be shown.

-Last but not least, click on the “Color Type” dropdown and select “Process Color”. Click the OK button. You will notice that the black dot in your swatch panel has disappeared and only the white triangle remains.

This small but significant Illustrator® function can come in very handy for designers when a PMS swatch is not available.

Have you ever had a customer supply you with artwork in PMS format to be used in a CMYK print project?

Please share your advice on how you would convert the PMS colors into CMYK value by commenting below.

Bookmarks the Spot! – Bookmark Design Inspiration

Bookmark PrintingBookmarks discreetly make their way into our lives. They accompany us, readers, and help us get back to where we left off, whether we are talking about light romance novels, or bulky academic materials. Bookmarks can display information about your company that you would like customers to keep at hand, such as your contact information, upcoming promotions, and new products of interest. A bookmark from your company will keep you and the services you provide in your customer’s mind, helping you make a faster and smoother connection when doing business with them.

Bookmark Design Inspiration and Printing Recommendations:

Size MattersIt is not about big or small, it is about the perfect size to represent your message. You can print big or small bookmarks, both with great outcomes, but you must know what you want to say and what size reflects that the most. Custom sizes –by request– that may truly make your company be a cut above the rest. Keep in mind who your customers are and what they need, as well as how much you can invest. Oversized bookmarks may be more noticeable, and small bookmarks may be more appealing, but the perfect bookmark will simply reflect who you are and who you want to reach. Make it more than advertisement, make it a useful tool.

Custom Bookmark Sizes

Color With AudacityCatch the eye of your customers by using vibrant colors. Bookmarks can print in full color on both sides to create a more eye-catching promotional item. If your budget is limited, one side of full color will still delight and impress by its quality. It is important to keep your products bright, colorful, engaging, and constantly putting your brand in a good light. For outstanding results, we strongly recommend using images with at least 300 dpi.

Color Bookmarks

Do Not Shy AwayAdding fuzzy decorations to your bookmarks can help them stand out form the rest. Attaching tassels and other materials can be a wonderful way to compliment your bookmarks, and help your customer locate their pages more effectively.  Bookmarks can have holes drilled in different sizes. Just make sure to specify the right size beforehand, so you can easily add your decorations later.Bookmarks with Tassels

Be Unique and DaringWith custom bookmark sizes, a variety of paper types, and multiple finishes available –including rounded corners of a 1/4” or 1/8” radius- bookmarks can be special and distinctive and/or simple!

Free Resources:

Do you have any must-see bookmark designs you would like to share?

Post your comments below…