PMS to CMYK What You Need to Know to Avoid Costly Color Shifts
At Just Buttons we understand that your buttons are an extension of your brand, and the color of your logo needs to be correct. Often times we are asked to match Pantone colors, which we currently do for no additional fee. An issue we run into is, that most people, outside of the graphic design and printing industries, have little to no working knowledge of how the Pantone Color Matching System (PMS) and digital printing works. They assume, that the vibrant spot color they picked out of a book can be reproduced digitally. Sadly, this is not the case.
Most print and buttons shops are printing digitally, especially for smaller runs. It’s fast, economical, and in most cases accurate. However, there are colors which are considered spot colors, that simply cannot be replicated with the CMYK process. Pantone has made a handy PMS to CMYK swatch book which illustrates the dramatic color shifts that can occur. Take a look at the image to the left. The swatch on the left is the Pantone color, the swatch on the right is the CMYK equivalent. The difference is pretty extreme. Spot colors are made from one color or ink. Where CMYK combines Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black to create colors. We all know that when you combine yellow and blue you can make a wide range of greens. But, have you ever tried to make a florescent green? You can’t. You need a special ink/pigment to do that. The same is true for digital printing.
There are a few things you can do to ensure your colors print as expected. If you are working with a graphic designer, insist that they convert your logo/graphic to CMYK so that you can see the difference. If you are working in Photoshop or a comparable graphic program, you can do the conversion yourself, then tweak the color to get it as close to your Pantone color as possible. If you make sure you design in CMYK, you likely will not have any issues with color. When we run into a color shift we do our best to communicate the issue with our clients. We also push our equipment to produce as close to the spot color as we can get.
We do not print spot colors in house, however, if you really need a specific spot color, we can arrange to have it printed at a local print shop. Keep in mind there will be plate fees, and if the shop does not stock the color in question, we will have to purchase at least 1lb of ink regardless of how many buttons you are having printed. The costs can add up quickly.
If you have any questions about color or have specific color goals you’d like to discuss with us, please give us a call at 1-800-564-2924.