Matching Pantone Colors in Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign)

I have been having an issue in Adobe Creative Suite where colors are not matching even when using the same Pantone color. For instance, you can see below I have the same two colors (Pantone 202 C and 431 C) from both Photoshop, Illustrator, and the Pantone Website…and they don’t match!


Come on Adobe, it’s shouldn’t be this hard. What is the point of making standards? I still don’t even understand the official explanation from Adobe, something about CMYK color representations (it’s a long tough read).

I am happy that I FINALLY found out how to fix it. Basically, the Photoshop representation is most accurate (as you see from the diagram above) and here is how to match Illustrator and InDesign to Photoshop.

Illustrator – the default Spot Color display is “Use CMYK values from manufacturer’s process books.” (here is the problem. To fix it, In the Swatches panel flyout menu, select “Spot Colors” and change this to “Use LAB values specified by manufacturer.” The color appearance on screen will be noticeably different, but will give you a much better match.

InDesign – the fix is similar, but in a different place: From the Swatches panel flyout, select “Ink Manager” and turn on the “Use Standard Lab Values for Spots” checkbox.

Boom. Roasted. I hate you Adobe.


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