When a brand is launching a new product or an existing product in a different region, they begin the process of designing the product’s artwork.
Artwork approval processes are tedious and time-consuming. It involves multiple rounds of revisions and proofing across different departments. The teams involved need to proof every aspect of the artwork and an essential part of it is proofing the colours in the artwork.
To avoid delays in the product’s time-to-market, brands have to be careful of not having any error in colours of packaging artworks.
Brands can create print ready artwork files with an online colour extractor tool which shows all colours specifications present in any artwork.
Before we go in-depth on how Colour Extractor can simplify artwork execution, let’s understand the different printing aspects of packaging design.
Colour Systems for Packaging Artwork
Mostly, packaging colours are configured in Pantones or CMYK schemes. Brands select colours that define your brand style and how it will be portrayed on the packaging.
Pantone Matching System (PMS) or simply Pantone is a standard colour reproduction system. It identifies a colour with an allotted code (e.g. 130 C).
Pantone Inc releases a Pantone guide annually for designers and brands to use accurate colour codes. Printers, design agencies, packaging manufacturers, and brands can use this guide for colour references. While using the guide, it’s recommended to see the latest version to avoid colour damages due to external factors.
CMYK colour scheme is a process of printing using a combination of four base colours- cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black) also known as spot colours. Packaging printing may involve offset, flexography, digital, screen, or rotogravure methods. Most printers use the CMYK configuration for commercial purposes as developing colours in CMYK is simple and cost-effective.
When to use Pantone and CMYK?
Pantone and CMYK are globally accepted standards, and it’s essential to select the right colour system for your packaging design. You need to find a balance between your brand guidelines and a cost-effective approach to see great consistency in your product branding.
1. Colour Consistency
Brands build their recall through their product packaging which involves the use of colours. If the products are globally manufactured, then brands opt to use the Pantone colour scheme as it is more consistent.
2. Packaging Material
For printing fabric pouches and colouring plastic containers, Pantone is suitable because it usually comprises a single colour. If you wish to print packaging artwork on kraft papers using two or three colours, then also Pantone is useful.
Brands with budget constraints or have local presence tend to use CMYK scheme. Larger and established brands use CMYK only for prepress proofing. These brands invest in customizing colours from the Pantone guide and own these as brand colours for better brand recall.
|Type of finish||Matt, Glossy, Metallic, Fluorescent||Regular|
|Number of colours||1-3||4 or more|
|Packaging Material||Fabric, plastic, leather, |
textured paper, coated paper,
|Polyethylene, Kraft |
|Cost||Suitable for two to |
|Cheaper and suitable |
for printing mixed
How to Identify Spot Colours?
Spot or solid colours are colours generated by ink which is printed using a single run.
For example, Pantone uses 13 spot colours for formulating the rest of the colours. At the same time, CMYK uses four spot colours for generating multiple blends of colours.
A brand can use various materials and inks for product packaging. At times, they need to identify colours from existing artwork or previous artworks.
They do it in three ways:
- Graphic Design Tools: Softwares like Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. have inbuilt tools to find colours and convert them into RGB, CMYK, or Pantone.
- Conversion Charts: Pantone provides conversion chart to find CMYK colour codes from Pantone and vice versa.
- Colour Extractors: Artwork colour extractors or colour pickers use pdf, jpeg, png, or jpg files and produce the colours in Pantone, CMYK, and/or RGB notations. Colour extractors are the advanced tools, which can present prototypes of the final packaging print.
Once you have identified the colour codes, it is a good idea to colour-proof your packaging before bulk printing.”
That’s where Artwork Colour Extractor Can Be Helpful
Artwork Colour Extractor is an online tool for extracting colours in Pantone, CMYK and RGB configurations. It will help you to put together a print-ready file for prepress proofing.
Prepress proofing helps by
- Giving an idea about the final look and feel of colours on your packaging.
- Allowing multiple trials using different materials and print methods at negligible cost.
- Saving expenses by discarding a batch of inadequately printed packaging.
Colours in packaging artworks reflect the brand personality. Reproducing the colours and maintaining consistency across different selling channels helps in retaining brand identity.
Proofing artwork colours doesn’t have to be a manual or guesswork anymore. When you use a colour proofing tool, you can accelerate the artwork approval process. In a few simple clicks, improve proofing accuracy and decrease your product’s turn-around-time.2