Color matching is off. Colors are not printing the same as they appear on screen or do not match PMS/Pantone colors. (All Products)

Color matching is off. Colors are not printing the same as they appear on screen or do not match PMS/Pantone colors. (All Products)

1. Can I match a PMS/Pantone color?

Inkjet printing on label stock can not be matched to PMS colors. PMS colors are derived from specific paints that are mixed for that specific color. The paint is printed on the paper and sits on top of it with no interaction between the substrate and the paint. Inkjet is completely different.
With inkjet printing, the printer driver interprets the color based on the CMYK or RGB values in the source image. The printer mixes cyan, magenta, and yellow right on the media. The ink soaks into the top layer of the media. This is the point where the color can change from your intended color. Different media types can affect the color greatly. Primera media has been specifically formulated to make the best match possible, but even then you'll never have the perfect match to PMS or to the screen.  The same is true of ANY inkjet/laser/digital printer that mixes a limited number of colors to create millions of colors. 

Pantone makes a Bridge Book that can help you get the closest match to your intended color.  This book shows the PMS Color and the closest equivalent in CMYK including the percentage values of each color necessary to achieve the match.  In many cases, an acceptable match is NOT possible.  The book only provides the closest match.  The values shown for CMYK are usually a starting point that you should adjust until it looks good to you. See examples below.  

2. Color Matching Driver Settings. Toggle the color matching setting in the driver. For new models, choose the ICC profile that matches the ink and label stock installed.  You can also try the default non-ICC profiles like Vivid Photos or Vivid Graphics.  Ultimately you need to choose the one that you think matches colors and looks the best.  In most cases, the ICC profiles will match the closest.  You may choose the NONE profile if you have created your own ICC profile.  Follow this tutorial to use your own ICC profiles. This will only work with printers that have -NONE- as an option.  For older printers such as the LX900, you will not have ICC profile options.  You also do not have ICC profile options on the Mac.  However, all printers have the default profiles for Photo or Graphic.

3. Saturation Settings. In many cases decreasing or increasing ink saturation can help match a particular color. 

4. File Type. If you are printing an image file directly or importing an image or a background into BarTender, certain image formats work better than others. Try JPG, TIF, BMP. All of these format choices are available from the "Save as" or "Export" screens of popular graphics programs.

5. Image Mode. Try changing the image mode of the source file. (CMYK or RGB) In Illustrator, image mode options become available after you export the image. In Photoshop, they are available by selecting Mode from the Image menu.

6. Print from Source.
If possible, try printing directly from the source program. The source program could be Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Image quality and color interpretation can be distorted by exporting images into JPG, TIF, or BMP format and then further distorted by importing that image into BarTender. 

7. Print from Adobe Acrobat. If you do not have the source program or the source file, ask your graphic designer for a high-quality PDF of the graphic. You can download Adobe Acrobat Reader for free and it is a great printing program that maintains very accurate color compared to the source image. 

8. Tweak the Color of the Source. Exact color matching of the printed label to the screen may never be possible since there are factors that are out of the printer driver's control. The surface of the label reacts with the ink in the cartridge to produce the color. For this reason, it may be necessary to tweak the color of the source image to print the way you want. In this case, it is possible that the color displayed on the screen may not be the color that you want to be printed, but when the label is printed it looks the way it is supposed to look. For example, if the blue parts of the image look too purple you may need to reduce the magenta percentage.  In the source program, every color of a graphic is represented by percentage values 1-100 for each color CMYK or RGB.   See the color wheel for RBG and CMY to see how colors are mixed to produce other colors. 

Important Note: There are many other printing problems that can look like color matching issues. The solutions above are only applicable if the label looks vibrant, bright and fully saturated but the colors are off. For all other issues search the knowledge base for "Print Quality" under your specific product. Many of these problems can be solved by manually cleaning the ink cartridges.

  1. Troubleshoot Print Quality for Label Printers.

Article ID: 45054