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We send Illustrator files to print manufactures overseas and they ask for PMS colors to be called out somewhere within the artboard (a box of color with PMS 376 typed out underneath for example).

I know that's best practice so they can easily identify the PMS colors, but I've found if I forget to include that 'call out' they just pick a random PMS color that's close to what we've used in the artwork even though the PMS swatch is included in the Swatches Panel and you can easily identify what PMS colors are used through Illustrator. Why is this?

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    Just a comment because I don't know for sure... but I would imagine maybe someone has to order the color or mix the color before going to press and it would be way faster to get the number off a proof than starting Illustrator and digging? – Emilie Jul 31 at 15:01
  • @Emilie, you are right that a Pantone color needs to be mixed before print and it's always best to communicate exactly which spot colors you want. But it doesn't really take much digging. Simply open Window > Separations Preview and you can see which inks are in use. Why the print shop wants their customers to add a box with text is impossible to say. It's probably just a way they've found which works for them. – Wolff Jul 31 at 15:16
  • @Wolff I've thought of that...but what if they use a (gasp!) paper proof? :) – Emilie Jul 31 at 15:22
  • @Emilie. It just seems a bit home knitted to ask the customer to add their own colored box for proofing. Then it will look different every time and there's a risk that the client makes a mistake. For example using 90% tint or something like that. Color bars can normally be added by the printing equipment. But you're probably right that it's related to their workflow. Maybe they use that paper proof you're talking about as the only way of communicating to the printer which color to use? – Wolff Jul 31 at 15:35
  • I think it's regional and related to possibly translations. If you have boxes with colors called out... then they know they are color numbers. If non-English Speakers are using English version software to open a file, they may not be able to differentiate things in panels and menus. At least that's always been my thought. English speaking companies never ask for call outs any more in my experience. – Scott Jul 31 at 17:31

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