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Pantone colour fans are a costy thing to have. Priced at approx. 150 to 350 Euros per colour fan set, consisting of a coated and an uncoated fan, you really have to thoroughly think if the investment is really worth it - especially as a single entrepreneur. Here, I want to focus on Color Bridge fans. They are more expensive but extremely important for designers that work in the print and digital sector. Why? Read on to find out.

Pantone colour fans make the lives of corporate designers much easier. Whereas cheaper Pantone fans only show you the solid Pantone colour codes and their almost (!) equivalent CMYK codes (on the left on the photo below), more expensive Pantone fans show the CMYK, RGB, HEX and Pantone ("solid") colour codes (on the right on the photo below). They build the bridge so to speak ("Color Bridge") between the print and the digital world. Also, you can instantly see the difference between Pantone and CMYK colours and contemplate if the extra printing costs are really worth it or not.

Plus Series and Color Bridge Pantone colour fans

"Plus Series" colour fan on the left and "Color Bridge" colour fan on the right

Colours have to look exactly the way they were defined in the course of the visualization of a corporate identity design; in print (Pantone/CMYK) as well as on a screen (RGB/HEX). However, colours normally look completely different on screen than printed, screen calibration comes on top of it.

I want to demonstrate this with an example: In summer 2017, I developed the brand design for Dr. Gasser-Puck, a doctor in Austria. The defined colours were plant green, sunny yellow, ocean blue, pure white, stone grey, earth brown, moss green, raspberry pink and sky blue. Besides that, there were colour gradients that had to be perfectly simulated in print as well as on screen.

primary colours brand design Dr. Gasser-Puck
secondary colours brand design Dr. Gasser-Puck

I had already defined the CMYK colour codes for print with the help of my Pantone colour fan. In order to get the correct RGB/HEX colour codes, I simply had to look at the left column on my Pantone colour fans.

colour codes Pantone
Pantone ocean blue
Pantone plant green
Patone raspberry pink

Then I entered the CMYK codes in the Adobe Kuler and the HEX codes provided by the Pantone fan in a new colour field next to it (important: set the rule to "manual" in the Adobe Kuler on the top left, otherwise this won’t work).

The Adobe Kuler automatically calculates the RGB and HEX colour codes based on the entered CMYK codes. However, these are really useless (sorry, Adobe).

Adobe Kuler vs. Pantone color codes
Adobe Kuler vs. Pantone color codes
Adobe Kuler vs. Pantone color codes
Adobe Kuler vs. Pantone color codes

The exact Pantone colour codes (CMYK, RGB, HEX) are framed in green, the colour codes automatically calculated by the Adobe Kuler are crossed in red. 


As you can see in the above stated screenshots, the allegedly "same" colours look totally different on screen. This is the problem when you let the Adobe Kuler or other online tools convert your CMYK colour codes into RGB/HEX colour codes. And this is the reason why Pantone colour fans ("Color Bridge"!) are so important. Only Pantone colour fans show the optically (!) correct screen colours that come closest to CMYK values. This makes sure that the colours of a brand design look the same across all communication channels.

You can also download this topic as a free whitepaper.

Wanna know how colours impact on your target group? Find out in this article.

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