Will Adobe dropping Pantone libraries affect your nonprofit?

Oct 20, 2022

There’s never a dull moment, is there? If you’re familiar with our blog, you know the fundraising landscape is always evolving. And today, we’ll help you understand the impact of Adobe dropping support for Pantone libraries on nonprofit organizations everywhere.

The Pantone color libraries pre-loaded in Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc.) were removed from future software updates on August 16, 2022. And while this change appears to stem from a licensing dispute between the two companies, designers and their clients will be most affected.

So, this change is likely to cause confusion between nonprofit organizations and the designers they work with.

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In short, future Adobe products will no longer be able to pull the color data needed to color match and print from the Pantone library. So, you should know what comes next if you’re using these very popular color books!

Just a heads up, this article may use some terms and technical language you may be unfamiliar with. But that’s OK! We’ll explain things so you can understand the impact Adobe dropping support for Pantone libraries will have on your nonprofit without knowing all the intricacies of the printing process.

Don't worry! Data for Pantone colors can be pulled from your prior pieces.

Here’s the good news!

The data needed from Pantone will be retained on older files, even when opened on updated versions of Adobe products.

So, we’ve got you covered, especially if you’ve partnered with us for a past campaign! We can pull the color data from previous materials and use that information to define process color values in a new preset color swatch. This makes for a nearly seamless transition!

And there’s no reason a designer can’t create a new color swatch as a spot color, use the RGB sliders to match a printed Pantone chip, and name it by a number from a color guide. However, this process will make these created spot colors susceptible to slight variations depending on the monitor or printer.

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Will Pantone Connect become part of every designer's toolkit

So, what’s the fuss about?

Well, as we just mentioned, colors expressed as RGB or CMYK may vary slightly depending on how they are viewed. However, Pantone colors are built on spectral color definitions using the LAB color model.

And what this means is that LAB color data, which is proprietary, makes more information available than RGB or CMYK colors. More data (and the ability to read it) means colors can be more consistent and matched with greater accuracy across different screens and printers.

But what are you to do if you want to continue using the true and latest Pantone colors?

Well, the company recently introduced a paid subscription called Pantone Connect. According to Pantone’s website, the subscription allows you to “unlock over 15,000 Pantone colors with digital data and communicate your vision to everyone in your workflow.”

The platform grants users access to Pantone’s live database, where all Pantone color libraries can be found. It’s available as a plugin for Adobe Creative Cloud apps and as a web and mobile application.

However, the response from the print and design community has not been supportive. While a limited digital subscription for Pantone Connect is included with new physical Pantone swatch books, many say it feels like a cash grab bound to disrupt the industry.

And while Adobe has said they are working on an alternative solution to minimize the impact of this change, specifics have not been publicized.

READ MORE: How to rise above the noise this appeal season.

The fundraisign landscape is always evolving.

So, what should you do?

For now, nothing! As we mentioned earlier, we’ve got your back. And the consensus among print and design professionals seems to also be wait and see. We don’t foresee any immediate issues with our strategic design and printing services here at amplifi.

And the worst fears among the design community may be unfounded if early workarounds are effective. Or, if complications arise, we may see Pantone Connect become a new part of our industry-standard toolkit.

Either way, one of our core pieces of advice applies. Be a flexible fundraiser and leave room to pivot because you never know what will happen next!

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