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I have a project of packaging. I ask my printer if the file should be in cmyk and he said that he only work with Pantone. Is it normal? Doesn’t it cost a lot for Pantone?

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    What are you printing? What kind of image? And what printing method? If it's single colour printing, then a Pantone colour is generally cheaper to print. It requires only one plate, and one colour of ink. CMYK printing uses four plates, and four inks.
    – Billy Kerr
    Mar 8 at 0:35
  • It is a box of chocolates and one etiquette for another box with different colors and text.
    – designer
    Mar 8 at 1:10

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Ask them why.

But one assumption is that the machine they use is pretty small. Let me explain.

Having a CMYK file means that you need to register, or print very accurately the different color passes, so the machine has different mechanisms to do this, including being a very sturdy machine.

There are some that can print each of the 4 colors consecutively, so they are known as 4 head presses. Imagine 8-10 m of machinery.

There are smaller ones, with 2 heads, so they need to print 2 colors and then change the inks and plates.

But even 1 head printer, if they have the mechanisms to accurately print, can do a CMYK print. It takes longer to do so because you need to change plate and clean the machine 4 times, but they can. I have use them see them a lot.

But if the printer is tiny, they can print 1 color and have no way of printing the next color accurately.

That is the only reason I can think of.

Rejecting a project that can be 4 times bigger (4 inks), to print only a spot ink has no sense unless this kind of limitations.


Even if the print process is not sheetfed offset, the point is similar. You can even print a CMYK project on a silkscreen or screen print! which is a manual process.

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  • Thank you so much I will ask him !
    – designer
    Mar 7 at 23:55
  • Do you think I should have the paper swatches of Pantone ?
    – designer
    Mar 8 at 1:11

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