I can't find the RGB and CMYK values for Pantone Neutral Black U on the Pantone website.

rgb.to says it's CMYK 0, 0, 0, 100 but I am not sure if that is right.

Anyone know what CMYK Pantone Neutral Black U has?

  • Mhhm, weird that they don't have that color listed on their website. You are right to guess that the value listed on rgb.to is wrong; neutral Black U doesn't look anything like 0,0,0,100.
    – AndrewH
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 22:42
  • Same goes for other "Basic Colors" eg. "Bright Green U" and "Medium Blue U".
    – Gordova
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 22:45

3 Answers 3


Keep in mind that any CMYK or RGB values given for Pantone inks are essentially made up. Pantone do spend a lot of time and resources on making their colors and conversions as accurate as possible, but the point is there are no correct values. Even the values that Pantone give change over time. For a start RGB and CMYK values in and of themselves aren't colors; they can change depending on the color profile and will look different depending on the output. Pantone inks on the other hand are designed to always be the same, it is a color matching system after all.

You're right that 100K is pretty far off Pantone Neutral Black U though.

We can get a more authoritative conversion by looking at the Pantone color libraries in Illustrator (or Photoshop or whatever). As far as I know, the Pantone libraries only actually contain Lab color values so the conversion from Lab to CMYK or RGB is done by Illustrator itself; but that is a good thing since it will give you values based on your color management settings, rather than blindly giving you set values (try assigning a different color profile and you'll see it gives you different values).

Anyway, this is what I get based on my current color management settings (which probably aren't the same as yours):

C:60 M:53 Y:53 K:52

R:76 G:72 :B69

enter image description here

Don't blindly rely on someone else's conversion (even Pantone's) though, a lot of Pantone inks simply can't be reproduced faithfully in CMYK or RGB. Do your own testing and use what works best (I can't do a test print now but I've got a suspicion those Neutral Black CMYK values will look a lot muddier when printed).

  • Excellent explanation and cautions. I would also add, please be aware that, depending on the press and paper stock, some CMYK "conversions" may put you over the recommended total ink limit. Although 240% is a common safe limit, I've had to deal with total ink limits of 210% and less for newsprint.
    – user8356
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 16:02
  • Thanks for enlighten me! But what source should I use when deciding the CMYK color for a Corporate Identity then? In some advertising it's required to provide the CMYK colors. Is Pantones CMYK values the best source? I would like to specify one CMYK for Coated and one CMYK for Uncoated use in the Corporate Identity.
    – Gordova
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 19:53
  • I would suggest always using the Pantone Color Bridge swatches for your conversions. Yes, there are exemptions where the colours are not perfect, and a simple print proof will show these. But the pantone site, and/or the bridge swatch library is usually the best place to start. Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 20:24

I got the answer from Pantone's TechnicalSupport (very quick support):

The three Pantone colors you have listed are base inks from the Pantone Goe system which is discontinued. Six of the 10 base inks used in the Pantone Goe system were brought over to the Pantone Plus Series but they were renamed. Below are the new names and I would recommend using these colors and you will be able to find the information you are looking for.

  • PANTONE Medium Yellow is equivalent to PANTONE Yellow 012
  • PANTONE Bright Orange is equivalent to PANTONE Orange 021
  • PANTONE Strong Redis is equivalent to PANTONE Rubine Red
  • PANTONE Bright Green is equivalent to PANTONE Green
  • PANTONE Medium Blue is equivalent to PANTONE Process Blue
  • PANTONE Neutral Black is equivalent to PANTONE Black

I have found that rgb.to doesn't really give me the best results when trying to convert a pantone colour. I usually use https://www.pantone.com/color-finder or the Pantone Bridge library.

On the Pantone site the values for Pantone Process Black U are:

RGB 78 74 71


CMYK 0 0 0 100


I believe the Neutral Black swatch was removed from the Pantone swatch guides in the last couple of versions, but I could be mistaken. I have an old swatch guide with it, and a new one without the swatch.

  • 1
    I agree with you. But rgb.to is great for converting Pantone Coated to Pantone Uncoated. Of course you can't relay on it and you have to check manually. But it's the best guiding I have tested so far.
    – Gordova
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 20:50

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