I usually use the colour bridge coated guide to get a match between my cmyk and spot colour. The problem is I find the RGB colour match in the bridge book (which im aware is a conversion from the pantone coated values) is usually way off my cmyk match. What I tend to do is use a programme conversion from cmyk to RGB to get the closest match. Is this bad practice or should I stick to the colour bridge RGB values?

  • Do you use the same RGB colorants as your color bridge is using? Does your color bridge know what your monitors profile is? Do you know what color profile those RGB values use? If not then the values are meaningless to you.
    – joojaa
    Jun 26, 2020 at 19:05
  • My colour mode is sRGB. So are you saying Im better off matching my RGB using my adobe programme conversion rather than the bridge book. I just dont understand why a conversion match from CMYK to RGB is not a better conversion than the colour bridge suggestion of a conversion from solid coated to rgb, in relation to brand consistency?
    – jpl
    Jun 26, 2020 at 19:17
  • Because RGB without the information of what RGB space its defined in just as CMYK values without definition of what inks and what paper you are using is meaningless.
    – joojaa
    Jun 26, 2020 at 19:23
  • Thanks for the response. So what is the point of including RGB values in a Pantone colour bridge book in the first place?
    – jpl
    Jun 26, 2020 at 19:40
  • Sometimes people dont actually care about the end results as much as they want to do the motions. I mean i have seen many many design guides stating cmyk numbers and rgb values without specifying reference colorspace. In fact ive never actually seen them specify it which makes no sense... its just one sentence in the opening of your guide. But its done all the time and mostly nobody notices so when you next spend time selecting the perfect hue think that the tolerane is really broad. This said panatone does specify the space its just that if you dont know it its useless to you.
    – joojaa
    Jun 26, 2020 at 19:53

1 Answer 1


There is one real answer and several applications/implications.

The answer is to define a standard. This means that you need to define the profiles used on each color mode (which is not the same as color space).

The applications. Now we need to apply it.

On some tests I did some time ago I have the impression that Pantone, as it is an American standard is using... American standards... More specifically they are (or were) using Adobe 1998 as RGB color space, and SWOP v2 as the CMYK profile.

If you want a generic color "equivalent" that people can easily reference, simply use either the Color Bridge data or use the Pantone's website values.

It is really weird that Pantone does not define this. My guess is that they want people to think of them as the "absolute color guide" and avoid any variable on the mix... which is an incomplete workflow. Simple people do not care about it, and "pro" users know some workarounds.

But if you are using some other configuration, as a European standard, some Fogra color profile, and the files are exported directly from a specific software, like Illustrator, Corel Draw, etc. probably the best option is to use the software using spot colors, and then measure the colors using a CMYK color picker.

For the RGB conversion, I would directly export a file to PNG, embed the color profile, view them using a web browser, and measure the values using an external color picker measuring it the colors on the web browser. This way the exported files will match any hexadecimal code you throw at any web design.

One problem is that if you are using Adobe1998 as an RGB profile if for some reason it gets dropped, the file will be "assigned" sRGB, so you probably want to do that as the configuration on the initial software.

  • Our art print master told me that in general and in his experience designers dont care of color profiles untill it starts to cause them problems. In other words costing them money. And then only if they are printing a second copy that they can compare against. So i suspect that in reality the standard does not necceserily touch the designer... Unless they work in packaging where this comparasion is allways explicitly there.
    – joojaa
    Jun 27, 2020 at 16:05

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