Why don’t my PMS colors look right on my proof?

If you have ever received a contract color proof from your printer and checked the PMS colors, they didn’t match the PMS Color Book. But they should, right? It’s the contract proof you need to sign-off on for the press operator to run your job. What are they going to do about printing the right PMS color!

We are a G7 Certified Printer, which means we use a color profile on our proofs and presses, so the CMYK colors will match from the contract proof to press. But PMS colors won’t and here is why.

PMS 2012PMS colors are special mixes of colors that are defined by Pantone. These colors are not made up of cyan, magenta, yellow or black. As you know, only in rare instances can you print a PMS color in CMYK and have it match the actual PMS color.

The same is true for our proofs. Proofs print on an inkjet printer using CMYK ink. So, the proofer has the same limitation as a conventional or digital press. They just can’t re-produce every PMS color. Digital presses and the proofers are a little better at it, but only because they could have other colors like Light Cyan or Light Magenta loaded. This gives them a larger color gamut than a conventional CMYK press. But even then, the color still won’t match the PMS swatch book.

So when we send you a contract proof and ask you to check it for color, we are referring to the CMYK colors. Do check to make sure your PMS Blue is blue and not green, that could be an issue. If you are concerned that the PMS color must be right to match corporate branding guidelines. We encourage you to attend a press check. That means you can are on premise as we run your job and you can use the PMS Book to check that the PMS ink is being run at the proper densities and producing the proper color. You can work with the press operator to make sure everything is spot on!

Plus, if you have never been to a press check, we encourage you to do so.

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