1) When I am copying a logotype from one Illustrator document to another the colours are changing slightly. Anybody know why this could be?

I am noticing that the CMYK values are also changing, so it is not only how it looks like. The "old" document is created in cs5 and I am now working in cs6. Maybe it could have to do with this? How do I fix it?

2) I have the Pantone values written down for the colours of the logotype. When I put the same Pantone colour in the "new" document it becomes a different colour again (the same as when I dragged the logo into the new document). It is not the same! why? I need to be able to tell clients what are the Pantone colours of the logotype, so this is a huge problem..

I am very thankful if somebody can help me with this!

  • screenshot your color, then open it in Illustrator and eyedrop it. it's just a quick fix but it works.
    – user24705
    Commented Jun 6, 2014 at 18:12
  • Are you sure that color mode of your document matches the color mode of the file? Because usually if you drop a file edited in RGB into a CMYK document, colours get all meseed up. Options I'm talking about are under File -> Document color mode
    – user64259
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 9:43

4 Answers 4


1) Illustrator CS5 and CS6 must have the same color settings (Edit > Color Settings) for CMYK values to be the same. If you have mis-matched color settings, values will change.

2) Regarding Pantone colors, there is a marked difference between CS5 and CS6. CS6 uses the new Pantone Plus libraries which are built only on LAB values. Previous Pantone libraries were built on CMYK and LAB values. Check Adobe help pages for solutions to the pantone color issues. http://helpx.adobe.com/x-productkb/multi/pantone-colors-dont-match-illustrator.html Although it is best to adapt to the Pantone Plus libraries if possible. The difference won't effect printing, but it will alter the on-screen appearance.

These may also be helpful:





  • 1) yes this answer I have already seen on other pages. They are both the same, I have checked. But the problem is still the same. 2) Ok thank you I will check this. Although I have read that it should look "right" after choosing view-overprint preview. But for me the colour is still wrong. Could this mean it is not fixed and will not look "right" when printed? Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 16:02
  • If your color settings are the same between CS5 and CS6.... and you are working in CMYK or RGB documents in both versions you should not be seeing a color shift for those color profiles. And please READ the Adobe help page I linked to before trying to explore the Pantone issue more.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 16:04
  • Thank you. I have read it, and it definately helped me understand pantone colors better. Although it did not help me understand how to make it the same colour in my documents. Although choosing the same pantone colour I get completely different cmyk values and it does not look like the same colour. Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 16:20
  • Perhaps you should read again. The new Pantone libraries are NOT built on CMYK values. They have no inherent CMYK values. And because they are new libraries, they will have different CMYk breakouts. Why would you worry about that? Pantone colors aren't meant to replace CMYK colors. And traditionally pantone CMYK breakouts change with every new Pantone release.
    – Scott
    Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 16:23
  • Ok, so it has nothing to do with the CMYK values. But the problem is mainly that is not at all the same colour to the eye, and it should be. How would I then get the exact same colour. I have to find a new pantone color that looks the same? Sorry, but I am new to this. Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 16:26

Here's possibly what's happening:

Illustrator favors the pantone name over the CMYK values. So if the creator of the logo chose a pantone color, but then modified the CMYK values of it (by clicking on the swatch and switching from book mode to CMYK mode). The colors of that swatch are now different, but the name of the swatch is still the name of the pantone color.

Now if you copy that object to another document; Illustrator looks at the swatch associated with the color of that object and see the pantone name. It then gives it the value of the pantone color which is now different than the color it is on the original document.

So essentially it is no longer a pantone color, yet has the swatch name of a pantone color which "confuses" Illustrator into disregarding the new CMYK values in favor of the name.


If you are working in CS5 or older, but using a file from CS6 or newer, try this:

-Go to your "Swatches" window -Click the options symbol in the upper right hand corner -Select "Spot Colors..." from the drop-down menu -Select "Use Lab Values specified by the book manufacturer"

This fixed my issue! I believe it's because CS6 and newer use only Lab color values while CS5 and older use Lab AND CMYK color values.


I was having the same issue, copying an illustrator logo from another designer into a print piece in cs6. I noticed that the 100y yellow changed to 100Y 49M orange. I am copying from cmyk to cmyk and my color setting for cmyk is set to ignore profiles and preserve numbers so this shouldn't be happening. Then I noticed that the donor file color swatches are all set as spot, but not pantone numbered just named. I double click on the swatch and set to cmyk and then uncheck the global box and that corrected the issue. When I copy the logo and paste, it now has the correct color.

Another note- if you do not uncheck the global box, when you paste the graphic to the new file, you will get a dialogue box saying "The Color Swatch "Name" has a conflict with the current document". Select add swatch and your image will paste correctly and it will add the swatch to the swatch panel.

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