Swatches, Colours and Finishes

Pantone colours are an industry recognised physical swatch book of colours.

Hundreds of colours and shades with a reference colour.

These kind of colours are referred to in different ways – pantone colours, PMS colours, and mostly as “Spot colours”.

Set any colour swatch in InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop – used to define more than just special mixes of colours.

They can define Gloss Varnish areas, Die-Cut areas, Foiling, Embossing, Debossing, Kiss-Cut, stickering, etc.

Not all file types use spot colour – PNG, GIF, JPG.

However, TIF does support spot colours – better quality. Also PDF and EPS.


Pantone Colour:

CMYK – main printing colour


In our Adobe session, we learnt about pantone swatches and colours and where to find them in InDesign.

We started by selecting swatches on the right side column. When selected, you can see all of CMYK colours. If you select one of the colours, the icon next the bin on the bottom of the swatches open tab, creates a second version of that colour. By selecting twice it bring up a screen called swatch options. You can change the levels to create a new colour. Change colour swatch to ‘Spot’, and you can give the colour a new name.

After creating a new colour, I drew out a rectangle to show the colour. When the shape is selected, the swatches table should still be visible. When I selected the colour twice again, I then changed the colour mode to ‘PANTONE + Solid Coated’, and then a table shows of all the pantone colours I could use.

After getting used to where to find the pantone colours, our tutors set a task to select an image, and try and guess as closely as we could to 4 colours from the image – colour, reference number.

When I finished finding colours I could closely pick to, our tutors showed us a way that shows the precise colour.

By selecting the pipet tool, I selected a certain colour. It then came up with a table (as shown below), with 5 different colours. By selecting the purple, it took me to the colour table. It then showed a gradient colour table, and then by selecting colour libraries, it goes directly to the right pantone colour.

From this session, I have now learnt what pantone colours are, where to find them in Adobe InDesign, and how to use it properly.


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