PMS expectations - how to get what you want

What is the most common cause of dissatisfaction between a print buyer and a printer?

Believe it or not, it is the PMS specification without an initialed swatch. Why is this a problem?

In some cases, there is significant variation in color from PMS book to PMS book. The age of the book and the environment where it is used influence the extent of fade. A book stored in the back seat of a vehicle or under the lights of a pressroom will "age" differently from a PMS book kept in a desk drawer for several years. The landscape is littered with instances in which a print buyer, referring to a relatively pristine PMS book, specified only a color. The printer, referring to its PMS book, produced a match that appeared faded.

A key issue is the fact that a print buyer specifying a PMS color that is not accompanied by an approved swatch does not really want use of that color. Instead, the buyer or specifier really wants a match of the color in the PMS book. The challenge: that particular ink may appear different on different paper stocks. Use of a deep red color in the PMS book, for instance, may appear maroon when used on a recycled offset stock. The message: as a buyer or specifier, you want a match of a PMS color, not simply the use of a PMS color.

Recommended: attach an initialed swatch every time you specify a PMS color and state that you want a match of the color, not simply use of the ink.
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