Swatch books / Paper Samples

Do printers pay for swatch books from paper mills?

Log in to reply   8 replies so far

I’m assuming you mean PANTONE swatch books. Unless you can snag old ones from somewhere, yes. You can purchase them direct from PANTONE Corporation or most likely from any printers supply companies. PANTONE Corporation also suggest you replace them yearly. While I don’t agree with their schedule, it is true that over time the paper and inks both change colors, making the swatch book progressively more useless as time goes on. You can limit this by keeping the books in a cool, dry, dark environment. PANTONE even used to sell swatch book cases made of black material to keep light and moisture out. I guess it’s more profitable in the long run to sell more swatch books.

Paper sample books can sometimes be obtained free. Some must be payed for. For instance, last I checked, Neenah would give you the first copy of any paper sample book for the cost of shipping only. Subsequent copies must be purchased. I expect there will be similar deals with the larger paper mills like Mohawk.

Sorry paper sample books. Thanks for the pms book tip though.

You need a sales rep from a paper distributor, they’ve got the connect on the swatch books yo.

Talking about Pantone books:

I always have clients walk in with their swatch samples or books, ever noticed that the same color can vary over 4 books from the same year ?

If there is any question about the color, it is best to keep a sample (an actual piece) of the swatch that the customer approves. You can then use it to match the color exactly, and to make sure the press prints match it. This will also be proof, after the run, that you printed the job with the correct color.

A couple of other points which you may not need to consider, but inkmakers know about:

If you match a color using a combination of inks other than what the original swatch was made with, the swatch and the match could be metameric. This means that the two colors will match under one light source (like cool white for instance, or whatever), but won’t match under another light source (like sunlight or soft white). Ink makers match colors under standard lighting conditions, like D5000 (light with a 5000 degree color temperature). I think D5000 fluorescent tubes are available in some of the big box stores, in case you want to get them.

Ink makers match colors in a laboratory with neutral gray walls, floor, etc. If the walls were colored, the color of the walls could reflect onto the match and throw it off, or might influence the way your eye views the matched color against the background of the colored walls..

This is also why (until very recently) professional graphic design programs like Illustrator and Photoshop have had a neutral gray background to the window. Unfortunately, Adobe have recently decided that accurate color in design is utterly irrelevant and that following trends is what really matters. All the new versions of their software seem to have a nearly black background and thin, white text by default. You can change it back to something useful, but you have to both know that you can do this and why it’s important or you’ll probably just stick with the defaults. Total lack of usability, here we come!

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

>>Total lack of usability, here we come!

Like Windows 8? Which is designed so that anybody can use it; which means that anybody who can be bothered to learn how to use an application properly is dragged into the inefficiencies of using a mouse where a keyboard would be better.

I have never paid for paper swatches from a paper mill. I have built up a nice library over the years. You can request paper swatch books from the website of most of the major mills as well as inspiring samples of unique printing techniques on the papers.