Should I Be Worried About RGB Color Printed in CMYK From Pantone's GOE Color System

Answered by Jay Nelson, Editor and Publisher, Design Tools Monthly

I noticed that Pantone's new Goe color matching system provides RGB values for each color in its printed swatchbook and in its software. They don't say which RGB color space they're using, and I'm worried that my colors won't print the way I want them to. Different RGB color spaces produce dramatically different colors when printed in CMYK on press. Should I be worried?

Unfortunately, yes. Pantone's breakthrough Goe color matching system is being criticized for using the sRGB color space by default, rather than the Adobe RGB color space, whose larger gamut can reproduce more colors and is more commonly used by graphic arts professionals. To see an example and keep on top of this issue, visit Here's the problem: the Goe color guide prints RGB color values next to every color swatch, but those values are based on sRGB, which gives different results than Adobe RGB. In addition, the Goe software shows its colors in sRGB space but doesn't say so. Its Preferences can be changed to display Adobe RGB instead, but by default it uses sRGB, which does not display print-accurate colors. (sRGB was created as an to attempt to standardize colors on PC users' low-end displays.) Pantone is working on a fix, which includes changing the guides in their next round of printing, and possibly changing the software.

This question was answered by Jay Nelson, Publisher & Editor, Design Tools Monthly. We love DTM's tips and advice and think you will, too. For a free sample PRINTED issue, contact Design Tools Monthly at 303-543-8400, e-mail, or go to their website:
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