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I just started working at a company that has predetermined colors for the brand, but I am running into inconsistencies with the colors given. The colors have been around for a long time so no one really knows who picked them or what the process was. Looking at the logo files, the color chosen was Pantone Process Blue CV (and Pantone Process Blue CVU - depending on which file I open). However, on the brand guideline sheet I have, instead of a pantone color it gives me a hex code of #0098d7. I am not sure which color I should be using as they are printing very differently on our office printer.

is it possible that those are just the two closest versions of each color to be used depending on how the file is being printed?

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As DA01 mentioned, the hex is for web; forget about it for printing.

The Pantone is a special ink for offset printing; it's more economical to use one ink toprint some projects than using the standard 4 inks combined that are used on most offset color printing projects. It doesn't matter if it's CVU, CVC or any letter after the name; the printer will use the same can of ink to print it anyway IF you print in Pantone 1-color.

The main issue is that your designer didn't provide a CMYK logo that you should use. So ask a designer to convert your logo to CMYK or do it yourself in Illustrator. Then stick to the same logo version and that CMYK color recipe for your office projects. If you need a hex color recipe, convert that CMYK recipe to hex instead of using the one in the guideline. Don't convert from hex to cmyk; convert from cmyk to hex. In yourcase, from pantone to cmyk, and then cmyk to hex.

It's normal your office printer will not render the color exactly the same; your software, for example Word, will not either. There's a few things along the way that will make it almost impossible for you to match perfectly your logo on every printer you'll use; sometimes the Pantone color recipe will be respected/matched, sometimes converted by the software and printer, sometime to something RGB, etc. That's why you need to stick to one version and the most reliable for office printing and most offset projects is CMYK on projects in full colors.

Unless you are yourself a designer, adjusting these versions to print all the same can be tricky. You'll probably need to do some trial and errors if you use software that don't have any color management system (eg. The Office Suite.)

The best you can do is to stick to a CMYK version of your logo and always use the same recipe every time. It will never be the same everywhere but you should see less variations than jumping from RGB hex to Pantone to CMYK randomly.

If you ARE the designer, than fix that guideline and update every logo with the same version of Pantone and CMYK values; rename the swatches and make sure they have the same values. Prepare a set of CMYK, Pantone and RGB hex logo. Then use the right version depending on the project you work on. Someone will have to make a choice at some point and fix the guidelines! If you cannot do it yourself, hire a designer.


EDIT:

This is an example to show how online guides are not always precise with color conversions, and since you have different results, might as well set the guidelines yourself by reconverting your Pantone to CMYK and then RGB.

You can see there's different blue on the first row.

PANTONE CONVERSION TO RGB AND CMYK

From the official Pantone Converter - Process Blue Coated:

Pantone Process Blue Coated Converted to CMYK and RGB


Some info to convert Pantones here:

Mismatched CMYK Values

Pantone color conversions

  • Thank you for this answer! I am in the marketing department and have access to the files needed, however not the one who can make the final call on which color. I do believe that the HEX value I have was at one point converted from from pantone color, and so far I have just been using the CMYK given from entering the HEX value in. (I am recently out of school with a little experience in these programs but by no means an expert and am learning as I come across things – Nicole Sep 18 '15 at 17:14
  • @Nicole You'll get a closer result if you convert from CMYK to Hex, not the opposite. Hex (RGB) colors are way brighter than CMYK and cannot be reproduced most of the time in CMYK. That's why there aren't so many options on the final decision: It will be from the Pantone to CMYK to Hex/RGB, in that order. Since you need to make a choice anyway, might as well do it this way and use the print colors (Pantone and CMYK) as the base color, then the RGB that matches that recipe. – go-junta Sep 18 '15 at 17:33
  • is there an easy way to convert the pantone to CMYK without using a Pantone book? – Nicole Sep 18 '15 at 17:35
  • @Nicole This: pantone.com/pages/pantone/color_xref.aspx?from=topNav and then you can convert your CMYK to RGB. You could use the RGB they suggest too, it's not very different. See my edit. – go-junta Sep 18 '15 at 17:43
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    @Nicole I think you should mark this answer as right - you've gotten a lot of help here and go-meek really deserves the rep :) – Jenna Sep 19 '15 at 13:33
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The Pantone color is for printing on a press that is using pantone inks.

The hex color is for web design.

Your office printer uses neither of those things and is a CMYK printer, so won't match either perfectly.

The CVU color has a U at the end to refer to 'uncoated'. It means that is the color designated for printing on uncoated paper. (as opposed to coated paper).

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You should stay with the pantone definition a s a base.

From time to time the manufacturers of inks, the software, and pantone itself changes a little te specification for the conversions.

If your software, for example Ilustrator is a recent one, you can use it to see what this conversions to other color modes are.

Make a patch of the pantone color, and convert it to bitmaps; RGB and one CMYK.

You now can use toose values as a CMYK equivalent.

This conversions totally depend on what profiles you are using, so you need to define them first. You should have some preinstalled, depending on where you live. The most widley used are.

Swop, Gracol, Eurocoated, Fogra and Japan.

For rgb values the point is a little trickier, becouse inside the document can have one RGB color defined, but it can look diferent depending is the viewer has color profiles enabeled or not.

If you are using windows one option is to export a RGB file, and measure the values with a tool like this: http://www.color-picker.de/en

Another option is to convert them to sRGB and probably strip the colour profile afterwards.

So. Use the pantone as a base color and find out the other models.


The uncoated colors can be for specific low budget prints. Probably for a letterhead, but normally you do not define a color un the Uncoated chart. PMS-U.

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    What does the paper coating (or lack thereof) have to do with the budget? – DA01 Sep 18 '15 at 16:34
  • Normally, coated paper is more expensive than uncoated. At least where I live. – Rafael Sep 19 '15 at 15:07
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    In the US it's usually a style decision--not a budgetary one. Uncoated paper is used for high quality pieces just as coated is. – DA01 Sep 19 '15 at 18:48

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