Is there an exact CMYK match for PMS 360?
April 29, 2010 1:50 AM   Subscribe

SpotColorFilter: I do prepress at a print shop, and need to figure out if PMS 360 C (from the Pantone spot color range) has an exact CMYK equivalent. We have a few PMS swatch books around, but not the Color Bridge variety, which is able to provide this information.

Recently a client who's in charge of a franchise-type business came in with business-card artwork from his corporate overlords. They have a four-color photo, plus three PMS colors (yikes! Don't they know? That's a double-pass, right there...).

Anyway, the guy said that the corporate identity was really built around the green color, which was PMS 360, and that just had to match. But they really wanted the photo (of a piece of fruit) to be realistic, too. I figure we could turn the other PMS colors, Warm Gray 9 and Warm Gray 11, which are used for the typeset copy on the card, into percentages of black and not tick off the corporate art department too much, but even then it's looking like a 5-color job.

So that got me to thinking: We know that there are many PMS spot colors that are totally out-of-gamut for CMYK, and whose CMYK analogues are a poor substitute for the real thing. There are other PMS spot colors that are reasonably translatable to CMYK and will look pretty similar, though not spot on. And some PMS spot colors will translate A-OK to CMYK with no problems.

Can anyone tell me if PMS 360 has an exact analogue with a CMYK process color? If so, that would help in making this a simpler printing job for the client, who might otherwise balk at a 5- or 7-color job, even though it's not his fault for designing something like that!

If not—oh, well, back to the drawing board for them!
posted by kentk to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
According to this Pantone page, if you're a member of the myPANTONE community, you get access to Color Bridge. Joining myPANTONE appears to be free.

Hope that helps.
posted by pharm at 3:09 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

The color break for PMS 360 is C 75 / Y 100.

It's not an exact match - it is much duller.

Have you investigated printers that use a 6-color process? We use it alot for packaging, and it gives you a closer match to spots without having to add special colors.
posted by elvissa at 4:36 AM on April 29, 2010

First off, I would burn the designer alive for designing a business card with so many match colors. Smells like a "designer" who saw all the pretty colors in the Pantone palette in Photoshop/InDesign/whichever. He should have, at the very least, gotten quotes on various print options up-front, to run past the client. That's his job.

Now, you're in that position.

You need to sit this guy down and run the options/difficulties/costs past him. How small it the text that is specced for the warm grays? Converting small text to a screened black can be highly problematic.

The way you describe the conversation, it sounds like he is requiring a 5-color run, since he said the green MUST match and he wants the photo. I'd quote him for a 5-color job and try to convince him to accept the text in either a screen (if it holds) or solid black.

A 5-color job is pretty common for cards.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:06 AM on April 29, 2010

Best answer: According to my Pantone Coated Color Bridge, 360 is equivalent to 62c/0m/78y/0k.

I don't know where Elvissa got her numbers but I'm reading mine right off the swatch. I think she mixed it up with 361, which is 75c/100y.

If I had someone who insisted on 360 I would run it as a spot and make them eat the cost. The CMYK match is, um, imperfect.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:31 AM on April 29, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the input. Yeah, I suspected that it was a newbie "designer" who ran amok with the Pantone swatch book, and didn't stop to think that not every spot color has a CMYK analogue. Yeesh. What is it with "designers" these days—have they all gone webby on us? Isn't anyone learning anything about print any more?


Yeah, I'm going to quote for a 5-color job, as I've since found out they want to match PMS 360 exactly. The warm greys can slide—I might just convert those to CMYK, since I think making them percentages of black would make them cooler. Then again, maybe they don't care about the greys, and they're just obsessing about the green.

Thanks again!
posted by kentk at 10:54 AM on April 30, 2010

What is it with "designers" these days—have they all gone webby on us? Isn't anyone learning anything about print any more?

I think the thing is that a lot of "designers" today aren't actually trained designers. At least not down at the local, servicing-small-business level. A lot of them are hobbyists or web devs armed with a copy of Creative Suite. For a lot of them, all they know about designing for print is that you need to convert the file to CMYK...if you're lucky.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:59 AM on May 1, 2010

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