Create Pantone colors for your designs.

Creating spot colors for printed products should not be a headache. This quick tutorial will show you how to create Pantone swatches easily and quickly, as well as share ready-made palettes with other Adobe software.

1. Why Pantone?

Pantone Matching System (PMS) is an internationally recognized color transfer system. The pantone palette will be reproduced with the same output colors, regardless of manufacturer and location. Simply put, this means that when using such a system, the printer will be able to print them the same way every time. In contrast, colors CMYK have slight differences depending on the software and printing techniques.

It may sound a bit specific, but in fact you will notice that the Pantone colors are incredibly useful and are widely used for professional design or printing business. A frequent example of when you want to use such a color is to develop items for a company with a certain brand color. If you do not want his tone to differ slightly on business cards, letterheads, signs, etc., using Pantone will make sure that the color is always correct.

Here are some key facts about Pantone that you need to know before you begin:

  1. Pantone colors are spot colors — unlike CMYK composite colors, they are printed separately, so printing costs may increase.
  2. These colors are identified by their number in the Pantone Matching System — a couple of extra letters after the number indicate the paper to be used for printing. Different colors correspond to different raw paper (for example, coated paper or uncoated paper), as it may affect the final color.
  3. Fun fact: Every year, Pantone chooses a specific “Color of the Year” based on its predictions for next year’s consumer trends. For the first time ever, the company announced two colors for this year – Rose Quartz and Serenity.

Read on to learn how to create Pantone colors in Adobe software. We will create swatches directly in Adobe InDesign, but also consider how to export the saved palette to Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.

2. How to create pantone swatches

Pantone palettes are incredibly easy to create with a panel Samples (Swatches) in Adobe InDesign. Let’s find out how to do it …

Step 1

Open Adobe InDesign, then create a new document for Stamps (Print). Any size and number will do, as we will use the document to create a palette.

Open the panel Samples (Swatches) in the menu Window > Color > Samples (Window> Color> Swatches).

Select and delete all standard CMYK color swatches at the bottom of the list. To do this, use the basket icon at the bottom of the panel.

Step 2

Select New color swatch (New Color Swatch) from the panel drop-down menu.

In the window that opens, change Color type (Color type) with Compound (Process) on Spot (Spot).

Among the various options dropdown menu Color mode (Color Mode) find the appropriate Pantone view. Let’s say we will print on coated paper (as opposed to matte paper). In this case, you need to choose PANTONE + Solid Coated.

Step 3

You will notice that InDesign has loaded a huge amount of Pantone colors in the same menu *.

*The board: If you do not have a specific color number that your customer or colleague gave you, it is recommended that you first refer to the Pantone color book to find the desired color. Even if you calibrated your screen, the colors on the computer may differ from the printed results. To make sure that in the end does not come out unpleasant results, it is worth preparing in advance!

You can either scroll through the list of colors, which are sorted by number, or enter the desired number in the menu.

Click on the selected sample, click To add (Add) to move it to the panel Samples (Swatches) and then click Is done (Done) by closing the window.

That’s all! You have added your first Pantone swatch to the panel. Samples (Swatches).

Step 4

You can continue to add samples using the same process.

If you plan to use these colors for a single product or similar printed products, make sure that the correct type of paper is used.

As a result, when the selection of flowers is ready, we are ready to save it as a color palette, which can be used in various programs, as well as shared via e-mail or on the website.

3. How to share ready-made samples.

Step 1

Highlight all your colors on the panel. Samples (Swatches) and then select Save Samples (Save Swatches) in the drop down menu.

Choose a name and place for the palette, click Save (Save).

When you go to the location of the file, you will notice that InDesign has saved the palette in the format of the Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE).

Step 2

Now you can open Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop and immediately use your own color palette.

To do this in Illustrator, open the panel Samples (Swatches) through the menu Window> Samples (Window> Swatches), then select from the drop-down list Open Sample Library> Other Library (Open Swatch Library> Other Library).

Find the saved ASE file, click Open (Open). The program will open the palette in a new window.

In Photoshop, expand the panel Samples (Swatches) by going to Window> Samples (Window> Swatches), then select Download samples (Load Swatches) from the panel menu. Find your ASE file.

When you click on the button Open (Open) Photoshop will add colors to the already existing swatches on the panel.


Creating and exporting samples is easy! In this quick tutorial, we covered three stages of creating Pantone colors for our work:

  • Discoverthe basics – Pantone is based on the color matching system (PMS), which classifies colors by number and type of paper.
  • Create palette – we learned how to create Pantone spot color palettes in Adobe InDesign using the Swatches panel.
  • Export Samples – You can save your colors in the format of the Adobe Swatch Exchange (ASE), which can be opened in other Adobe programs, and also sent to someone via email or file transfer.

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