Why do the RGB values specified for a Pantone color in the Formula Guide (Color Bridge Coated) differ from the RGB values specified for the same Pantone color in the Pantone color manager software?

Pantone Guide

Pantone Color Manager Software

  • Perhaps the one in Color Bridge might be obsolete or for Adobe RGB colorspace?
    – Hassan
    Oct 20, 2017 at 7:10
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    And one is 3514 C and other 3514 CP, that may be a reason as well.
    – Hassan
    Oct 20, 2017 at 7:11
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    The colour details say sRGB, not just RGB. So you aren't comparing like with like. sRGB is the standard colour profile for colour reproduction used on the web.
    – Billy Kerr
    Oct 20, 2017 at 7:20

2 Answers 2


It is because the RGB in the Formula Guide is based on the C (the spot PANTONE color) and the one in the software is based on the CP (which is CMYK).

You can test this by making a photoshop document (RGB) and fill two areas with C and CP color of the same number. I haven't tried it with 3514, but in most cases they will produce different colors and different values.

Edit: CP is a simulation of the C (the spot Pantone color) in a process separation – which most of the time, as in this instance, is CMYK. That is why CMYK values of CP is the same as the simulated C. If you were to print 3514 in CMYK, you could pick the CMYK value or the CP color and get the same result. The RGB values are different because they are based on different colors – spot and process.

  • CP stands for "Coated Paper, Process Simulation" (pantone.com/help/…), not necessarily CMYK but a simulation of it. Also compare pantone.com/color-finder/3514-C and pantone.com/color-finder/3514-CP. C and CP are separate guides for different purposes.
    – AAGD
    Oct 20, 2017 at 9:59
  • Thanks for the useful links. You are close. CP is not a simulation of the CMYK, but a simulation of C (the spot Pantone color) in a process separation – which most of the time is CMYK. See my edit. Oct 20, 2017 at 10:34
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    To be even more precise, C is the spot color on coated paper (which is probably the 'truest' reproduction of the color value). This spot color on uncoated paper is in the U range (which on paper looks quite different), for which there also exists a Process Simulation version called UP.
    – AAGD
    Oct 20, 2017 at 11:06
  • Indeed! And those two have different RGB values as well. Oct 20, 2017 at 12:06

According to Pantone's website (Pantone > Help Center > Graphics Matching PANTONE Color Manager data to PANTONE COLOR BRIDGE guide), if you export swatches from the spot Fan Deck as RGB (not LAB), you should get the same RGB/HTML values as those printed on the Color Bridge guide. I haven't tried the export, but if you double-click on individual swatches in Color Manager, they are NOT the values from the printed guides. Changing from no color profile to sRGB does not help.

So, I still manually create my Web swatches using the Color Bridge information, as there doesn't seem to be a solution from Pantone. Not really surprising that a printed ink company doesn't make screen representations a priority.

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