Swell web & graphic design studio


Color Swatches for Adobe - Union Ink Plastisol Screen Printing Inks

Here at Swell we create many designs for textile screen printing... T-shirts, hoodies, caps etc... and we always find ourselves creating new swatches with each new design, and trying to replicate the colors of the plastisol screen printing inks that our vendors use to print on textiles. Quite frankly, it's a big pain AND it doesn't allow for much consistency in the proofs we send our customers. One problem that we have had in the past is that most manufacturers of plastisol inks don't really use the Pantone Matching System (PMS) to describe their colors. Ink colors are usually named things like "Dallas Green" or "Aurora Pink" so there is no standard for on-screen matching. Well, thanks to the fine folks at McBee Supply, Union Ink, and yours truly... we now have a new set of color swatches for use in all of our Adobe products!

Recently Union Ink published PMS color equivalents for all (or almost all) of their plastisol ink colors. With this new info, I was able to create/save a color palette based on those PMS codes. BUT a palette of PMS color numbers wouldn't have been very helpful for the long term, since you would have had to remember that PMS 485 equated to "Rebel Gold", and so on. So, with a little patience I was able to convert those colors from "Book" colors to CMYK Spot colors, then renamed them all to coordinate with the Union Ink color names. Viola! A new color palette that not only saves loads of time, but it also allows everyone on our team to use consistant "ink" colors in their digital proofs.

In the short time since I created these palettes, they have MORE than paid for the time it took me to create them. Now, when our client requests Royal Blue, it will be the same Royal Blue as we used for them before, and no one will have to waste their time answering questions like, "Is that Royal Blue? It looks more like Navy blue". Granted, with differences in monitors from one to the next, this will not put an end to EVERY question, but it WILL go miles toward helping us with proofing consistancy.

Since this palete has been so helpful to us, I wanted to offer it to my colleagues who might find it useful. The zip file below contains both an Adobe Illustrator file (CS4) and an .ase (Adobe Swatch Exchange) file that can be loaded into any of the Adobe products (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, etc).

To load and use the .ase file in InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop:

1. Choose one of the following from the Swatches palette or Swatches panel menu in InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop:

InDesign: Load Swatches

Illustrator: Open Swatch Library: Other Library (or User Defined if you saved the ase file in your Illustrator swatches folder)

Photoshop CS2/CS3: Load Swatches

2. Navigate to where you previously saved the ASE file, and select it. The colors will be loaded into your swatches palette, ready for you to use. (Again, if you saved the ase file in your Illustrator swatches folder, and are opening them in Illustrator you can skip this step, as the palette will already be in your User Defined list)

If you find this information helpful, please leave us a comment. And if you have suggestions for additional palettes, please let us know. Stay tuned to our blog for more palettes, and other helpful tips and tricks. And while you're here, think about signing up for our Newsletter for occasional updates with more helpful info, including tips and techniques to help make your website work for you! (we promise we wont spam you)

Happy creating!

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