What Color Library should one use for a logo?

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by HarryPot, Dec 5, 2011.

  1. HarryPot macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    #1
    I'm designing a logo for my business.

    When printing some papers I need, they asked me for the Pantone color. I wasn't sure so I went and investigated about it.

    Now I see there are tons of Pantone types (uncoated, coated, etc.). So my question is, when making a logo design, which one should I use for better compatibility when printing?
     
  2. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #2
    Mostly it depends on the paper on which you print. The simple answer is:

    Pick a Pantone based on the type of paper on which the logo will be printed. If the prime use is uncoated letterhead stock, pick from the Pantone Uncoated solid swatches (these will have a number followed by a U, ie. "1234 U"). If coated paper, select from the Pantone Coated swatches (1234 C).

    Also, it's very helpful to pick colors from the actual, physical swatchbook, rather than simply from within whatever program you are using. The reason for this is that many Pantone colors aren't represented very accurately on screen (even with calibrated monitors).

    Additionally, I have on many occasions created multiple versions of logos using different ink mixes: one for coated use, and one for uncoated use. For instance, one logo uses Pantone 381 C for coated paper, but Pantone 388 U for uncoated paper. The reason is that, to my eye, Pantone 388 U is a closer match to Pantone 381 C.

    Difficulty factor: I usually also create the logo in a cmyk (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) build for 4-color process printing, and even a strictly RGB version for web and/or screen.

    Have I confused you yet? Well, there's always metallics...
     
  3. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 5, 2009
    #3
    No! Thanks a lot.:)

    It actually helped a lot seeing how you make things. The company who is going to make the prints brought me the Pantone swatch book. So it did helped for me to see the differences between my screen and the actual color.

    So basically, the logo won't always look the same color depending on the type of paper?
     
  4. sigmadog, Dec 5, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011

    sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #4
    Usually, if you specify a Pantone color, the printer will use whichever type of Pantone ink (coated or uncoated) appropriate for that paper the exact same ink on either coated or uncoated paper. That's just standard industry practice. So if you specify "Pantone 295" and are printing on an uncoated paper, the printer will use Pantone 295 U. If you are printing on a coated paper, the printer will use Pantone 295 C the paper will absorb more of the ink and end up looking a lot different than the same ink on coated paper.

    CORRECTION: As PrePressAcrobat helpfully pointed out, the above explanation was not technically correct. The ink is the exactly the same whether it's printed on coated or uncoated and only changes due to paper absorption and brightness. The offending text has been struck and more accurate edits added. Sorry for the confusion.

    Now, looking at the swatch books (if you have the luxury of both uncoated and coated swatchbooks handy), and you are happy with the correspondence between Pantone 295 U and Pantone 295 C (in other words, if they look the same side by side, or at least close enough), then you'll probably have no problem with the printer swapping coated for uncoated ink with the same number printing the same color on either type of paper.

    But, if you don't like the correspondence between 295 C and 295 U, then you may wish to search for and specify different colors for uncoated versus coated papers, say 295 on uncoated, and 2965 on coated.

    Here's a slight wrinkle when it comes to the paper itself: Not all white papers are the same color temperature. Some are slightly bluer, some a bit yellowish. This is measured as paper "brightness" and it can subtly affect the color of the ink. I don't think in your situation this will be a big issue if you are selecting a white paper, but beware that if you print a Pantone color on an off-white paper (cream, or "natural white" or any manner of paper colors out there), you may be surprised because the paper color will definitely affect the ink color.

    Make sense?
     
  5. HarryPot thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 5, 2009
    #5
    Yes. Thanks again!

    One last question. CMYK and RGB, why do you prefer the later?
     
  6. PrePressAcrobat macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2010
    #6
    That is not quite correct.
    For EACH Pantone color - there is only ONE ink.
    Pantone "U" and Pantone "C" will PRINT using the exact SAME ink.
    The reason for the "C" and"U"
    is to show HOW THE COLOR WILL APPEAR on different stocks.
    In PMS books the ink is on the various papers.
    In the Abobe applications - with "Separations Preview"
    or "Overprint Preview" turned on -
    the screen view will alter to try to emulate how the ink will print on the different stocks.
    But - still they are the same ink - out of the can.

    MSD
     
  7. sigmadog, Dec 5, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011

    sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
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    near Spokane, WA
    #7
    Oh yeah. It was always easier for me to think of them as separate inks (it made it easier to reconcile the differences in the way they looked to my puny brain). But you are correct: they are the exact same ink. - just printed on different stock.

    Sorry about that. It's hard to override ingrained ways of thinking after so many years. Still, the point I was making is valid: the inks will look different on coated versus uncoated (mainly due to absorption and paper brightness), so checking them on printed swatchbooks is always a good idea prior to specifying them.

    I feel so foolish. Dumb mistake. I've corrected the information in my post above. Maybe it's time for retirement.
     
  8. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #8
    It's not really a question of preferring one over the other. Each has their proper place.

    In general, CMYK, Pantone, and other inks absorb some wavelengths of light and reflect others that we interpret as color.

    RGB, on the other hand, is not a reflection of light, but is light. The three color wavelengths are not reflected, not absorbed, but are combined together in ways that we interpret as colors.

    If you mixed 100% CMYK together, you'd theoretically get black (or at least a really dark gray-brown-mess). But if you mixed 100% RGB together, you get pure white light. So we say that inks are based on "subtractive" color modes while RGB light is "additive".

    So CMYK is the color mode of choice for print work, while RGB is the mode of choice for screen representations. That's why I will create separate logo files for each mode: CMYK for print, and RGB for screen (or web) use.

    Granted, it's not usually the case that everyone will see the RGB logo exactly the same on their monitor, but you have to start somewhere.
     

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