Dear Edwin,

Pantone and CMYK are two completely different color (colour) schemes.

A printing press operator can either buy ink in a specific Pantone color
or mix the ink from an exact recipe of colors and proportions. People
use Pantone color when they need an exact color. Pantone colors are
designed for offset printing.

CMYK, which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK (or Key), also
known as "four-color process," is a system of printing rosettes
(overlaid dot patterns) in these four specific inks. People use CMYK for
photographs or when an approximate color is acceptable.

In your case, it sounds like the problem is the fact that you are
outputting to a color laser printer. Laser printers use CMYK toners, so
the color is only approximate. You did it right, the printer did the
best it could.

When you print to PDF, you use a printer driver, either a specific color
laser printer or a generic driver. These drivers use CMYK color as well,
so again, you are left with an approximation.

If you are printing something that requires exact color, such as Pantone
2627, the best approach--assuming there are funds available to pay for
it--is to have the project printed on an offset press. If you choose
offset printing, be sure to check with your printing company as to how
you should prepare your files for color separation, that is, which
elements print in black, which print in Pantone 2627, and so on.

If you don't have the money for an offset print job, you could
experiment by specifying different Pantone colors, to find one that
prints closely enough on your laser printer or PDF. If you can, borrow a
Pantone "color bridge" booklet, which shows each Pantone color beside a
CMYK approximation. Visit the Pantone website at
and look around.

Bear in mind that Pantone system was designed for ink but laser printers
use toner, so the actual results will vary somewhat.

Best wishes! 

Daniel Doornbos
Technical Writer
Promise Technology, Inc.

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-----Original Message-----
[ at] On
Behalf Of ETudsbery at
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2006 9:40 AM
To: framers at
Subject: Colour question

I'm trying to create some colours for a FrameMaker template which
correspond to our corporate style guide and I'm finding it rather
difficult. One of our corporate colours is "Pantone 2627" which is a
dark violet. When I select Pantone 2627 in the Colour Definitions dialog
box, it does indeed look violet on the screen, but the CMYK values for
Pantone 2627 (83C, 100M, 0Y, 23K) correspond to a blue -- and this is
the colour I get when I generate a PDF or print to a colour printer. Any
ideas what I'm doing wrong?

Thanks for any help.

Edwin Tudsbery
CPA Software Solutions

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