Mixing Colors using Pantone Color Bridge Book

Hi guys

I am trying to figure out how I can use my Pantone Color Bridge Book to mix colors for letterpress. I believe the Bridge version is different to the Solid Pantone book - the Bridge only gives me the RGB or CYMK breakdown.

Does anyone have any ideas how I can ‘convert’ the CMYK figures into mixing inks? Would one just use the CMYK - as Blue/red/yellow and black and sort of guess the proportions? The CMYK breakdown does not look like it’s in percentages. I’m also guessing depending on the color (warm or cool) I’ll have to guess the type or red or blue??

Any thoughts would be super! I’d hate to buy another pantone book!! Many thanks in advance.

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If I understand it right, CMYK color depends on the white color of the substrate. Anyway I’ve had pretty good results by adding opaque white in a quantity sufficient to reach 100 after adding up the CMYK values the few times I’ve tried it.

The CMYK figures are percentages of 100, so you can use those breakdowns. I imagine you could just translate the percentages to grams and work out the mix from there. But, you’re making your life much more difficult than it has to be. Either order your colors pre-mixed, or spend the $100 for a Pantone formula guide. One less thing to worry about.

The Pantone Formula system is very different from the Process System and books. The Formula system uses base inks such as Pantone Yellow, Warm Red, Reflex Blue, etc. These are used in the recipes in the formula Book for mixing all the colors. They are like basic ingredients in cooking.

The process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) are designed for OPTICAL mixing after the ink is printed on the paper. In other words, you print yellow and then in a separate run, you print magenta on top, and so on. The percentages you see in the Process or Bridge guides are the HALFTONE percentages. An image is broken up into dots to simulate gradients in tones. 100% is solid (no white of the paper showing through) and 0% has no ink, only paper (or whatever substrate). Varying the percentages allows us to simulate almost any color we want. But remember: this is for optical mixing, not actual pigment mixing.

You might be able to mix some colors using process inks (cyan, magenta, etc), but these inks are not designed for that and are very weak (lacking in pigment and highly translucent).

Now, i have mixed ink by eyeball plenty of times. This gets easier as you gain more experience with the base colors. So it’s very doable. However, if color matching is important, you really do need the Pantone Formula Book to do it right. You can often find these from printshops (they have to replace them frequently and often will give away old ones) or ink companies.

The Pantone Matching System, whether Spot, Coated or Uncoated is for mixing any one of the PMS numbered colors. They often use Reflex Blue, Process Blue, Flame Red, Rhodamine Red, Yellow, White and Transparent White and a few other primary colors, to mix the specific colors.

CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) are specific color ink formulas mixed to make up the Four Color Process System. CMYK was invented primarily for 4 color printing. A Pantone Matching book for spot and process shows the percentages and colors to mix and match any of over 2000 colors and a comparison in CMYK next to it. This is to show how close or if a PMS can match CMYK so the designer will know if it matches. At least 1/3 will not.

I have never heard of anyone trying to mix CMYK-Process Cyan, Process Magenta, Process Yellow and Process Black Inks to achieve a spot Pantone color.

Thank you everyone for your input and comments. Very much appreciated! I think I might just have to invest in a Pantone book after all. Might try eyeballing it for my own projects and perhaps upgrade to a Pantone book when I start taking on specific Pantone colours jobs for clients. Thank you!