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  • 16 Sep 2007

Pantone Goe ‘creates serious problems with RGB values and their CMYK conversions’

Managing director of trend watcher VIGC (Flemish Innovation Center for Graphic Communication) Eddy Hagen has looked into the newly launched Pantone Goe system and has spoken to Pantone Inc. at Graph Expo in Chicago.


‘Although the new Pantone Goe system offers some nice features, especially the color communication using Lab, there are some serious issues in terms of design and documentation. We want to warn users of possible pitfalls when applying Pantone Goe,’ commented Eddy Hagen. ‘We sent out an open letter to Pantone and notification to our members but find it important enough to share this with other users in the market.’


These are the main problem areas VIGC has detected:


Standard Pantone CMYK conversions problematic
Before Pantone Goe, Pantone already had multiple versions of digital libraries (old and new), for different regions (Europe has specific libraries) and for some colors each and every one of these libraries shows a different CMYK conversion value. Try to look up Pantone 072 in following libraries: Pantone Solid to Process (the ‘old’ library, name: 072 PC), Pantone Solid to Process EURO (the ‘old’ European library, name: 072 EC), Pantone Color Bridge CMYK PC (the actual library, name: 072 PC) and Pantone Color Bridge CMYK EC (the actual European library, name 072 EC).
‘All four of them have different CMYK values. There are reasons for these different CMYK values (film based vs. CTP-based workflow and slightly different process colors in the US and in Europe) but if the old libraries are not deleted when newer ones are installed and if the average designer doesn’t know about the different libraries, we’re getting into a serious mess. Therefore the Lab-based color communication of Pantone Goe would be a blessing for the industry,’ commented Eddy Hagen.


Pantone Goe: which RGB color space?
Apparently Pantone does not clearly identify which RGB color space (sRGB, AdobeRGB) is used for the RGB-values next to patches in the new Goe color guide, for RGB-values in the colorPICKER software supplied with Goe. The color guide patches, the user interface of colorPICKER just state ‘RGB’. It’s also not specified in the product literature, nor in the white paper. At the GraphExpo show, a Pantone representative said that it wouldn’t make that much difference whether the numbers would be applied in sRGB or AdobeRGB. Which is incorrect.


Homework: delta E = 12
Eddy Hagen said: ‘I did some homework and took one of the color patches specified in the Pantone product literature: Pantone Goe 37-5-1 (a kind of purple). I created two documents in Adobe Photoshop, one with sRGB as its color space, the other one with AdobeRGB. Then I colored both with the RGB numbers they provide with the patch: 187, 53, and 145. Just try it; you’ll be amazed what a difference you will see! The delta E*ab is nearly 12, even with the newer delta E 2000 it still is over 6! This is obviously a major difference. I have posted a PDF showing this issue on our website: www.graphicbrain.com/pantonegoe.’


Accurate color communication
‘Pantone Goe could have been a blessing for the industry, with color information being transmitted as Lab-values, not as CMYK-values. Already in the design phase it is not stated which RGB color space is intended for the numbers provided in the color guide and in the software, which is a missed opportunity.’ concluded Hagen. ‘We hope Pantone will correct these problems as soon as possible as it will create serious headaches with printers, brand owners and prepress specialists.’