Holy Batman! Tell me not to freak out

So I am getting my business color palette in order and thought oooo it will be awesome to order custom colors for this so I did. I went through van son directly, I used the Pantone Plus solid uncoated formula guide and the inks came today. Well, the yellow looks orange and the light blue looks green and I am in pure panic mode. Mostly because I also have a huge meeting this weekend and this was going to make my life so much easier. HA! so much for that. Has anyone else had this problem? Are their different 120u pantone colors that I am not aware of?


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You have not given us any info on the custom colors you ordered, which would really help in our understanding of your problem. Some yellows do look orange in the can, and some blues have quite a bit of green in them. Please be more specific. Have you tried to print with any of these colors?

Haha. Sorry, I went for a walk and I can say that I have calmed a bit.

I ordered 120u (yellow) which looks orange, really orange. I also ordered a 573 u which looks like a very dark green. I was scared to print with them in the event I needed to send them back but maybe I should give them a try. Would that be a good idea? I understand they may be more saturated but it looks way different in the can.

The darker greens and purple and blue look like they could at least be close.


573u was supposed to be a light green by the way…

Dear, you need to more-or-less totally ignore what the ink looks like in the can, it will virtually always look extremely dark or intense in the can. Put some on the press and print with it! (Or at the very least do a “tap out” or “draw down” to see what a thin layer of your ink looks like.) Then you’re allowed to panic if it comes out way different, not before! Chances are, when printed, your colors will look a shade or two darker than the swatch book because of the thicker ink film of letterpress, but should be close.

Dave (the Ink in Tubes guy)

Yes. I freaked out too soon I’m sure. I am testing them now. A bit darker is cool with me. Thanks for not totally slaying me for the beginner panic mode. And would it kill me to have to add some white?!

Thanks again.

And the color is PERFECT. I’m so silly.

Its better to have a basic bunch of colours and just mix them on the spot. Dave is right, the drawdown or tap test is the way. Also consider the light you are viewing in, Don’t panic and the light the client will view in! Don’t panic - it must be great to have a mixing service, but its good skill to have.

Glad you got that color thing worked out. I suppose you are new to the printing industry because there is no difference between the pantone mixes for coated and uncoated papers. Seems like I see it quite often that people are wanting to use “u” or “c” inks. As I recall advertising agencies were always wanting “u” inks on coated stock, always made me wonder where they went to school.

Tap out is the best way to tell what the ink will print out on the stock being used. Mass tone in a can is never a good measure of final print color. Also if you order some of the colors in the 4 digit numbers I would order the base of that color say the 3 digit number and add my own white or black. Like order PMS 355 green and use it to get 356 and 357.

Chuck. I am fairly new but thought the colors were exactly the same. I have both books and my understanding is to just the differences in how the ink prints on a coated stocl vs an uncoated one and not that they are different colors. I was just thrown by how vastly different the color looks in the can than when it is printed and was hoping that I didn’t somehow order the wrong colors.

I actually have been mixing colors for several years now and have gotten pretty good at it but wanted to try this route. Prematurely freaked out because I have never seen an exact Pantone color in a can and it just looks WAY different.

All is well. I am sure to still mix in the future to put all you purists at ease :)

Thanks for the advice.

Colophon Press - That’s a great idea when ordering inks.
Thanks for the info!

this link from National Press Photographers Association re 2 easy steps for copyright infringement might assist


don’t worry

ink in the can does not look like ink
on the paper

learn how to mix ink colors
its easy and saves money

yours truly


but doesn’t stop people spamming on this site———————-sighs