Adobe's Pantone changes to kick in this month

Pantone Connect: subscription is £42.99 a year per user
Pantone Connect: subscription is £42.99 a year per user

Adobe has confirmed that Pantone Color Libraries will be phased out from this month from Creative Cloud, although some colour books will remain available.

The software giant said that the standardised pre-loaded colour libraries in Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign would be phased out from 16 August. 

The move was flagged at the end of last year. 

However, three Pantone Color books would remain: Pantone + CMYK coated, Pantone + CMYK uncoated, and Pantone + Metallics Coated. 

The change means that customers will need to buy Pantone Connect licences to access all of the Pantone libraries via a plug-in. 

Adobe said the change had come about because “Pantone’s licensing with Adobe was adjusted”.

Other colour systems: ANPA, DIC, Focoltone, HKS, Toyo and Trumatch will remain available in Adobe Creative Cloud apps.

Adobe also stated that InDesign files with swatches from Pantone Color Books “will function as before when opened or placed in InDesign”, including past or future software releases.

It also said that InDesign files with place-linked Photoshop files that use spot channels would render Grey/Black in InDesign “when colors from Color books are no longer available”.

Previously, pre-media and retouching expert Bill Greenwood had recommended that pre-press departments should back up their Pantone .acb files and presets for future use.

A premium annual subscription to Pantone Connect, with access to 15,000 colours and formula data, is currently available at £42.99 per user. Volume discounts are available.

Alternatively a monthly subscription costs £5.99, the equivalent of nearly £72 per year. 

There are concerns that printers could end up being blamed for colour inconsistencies if designers and specifiers do not properly understand the changes. 

The upcoming issue of Printweek will include a technology feature looking at the situation and at potential alternative approaches to colour matching. 

Industry expert and writer Simon Eccles commented: “Adobe does supply alternate colour models such as Focoltone or HKS, but not all of these have swatch books you can buy. For this reason, I think people will probably pay for Pantone Connect and just grumble a lot.”

Adobe moved its products onto a software-as-a-service subscription model a decade ago.