Commons talk:Pantone color chart

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Unified set of Pantone approximations for Wikimedia Commons flags?[edit]

Note: This discussion has been copied from Commons talk:WikiProject Flags. Please add new comments here.

I've been following (and have been involved in some of) the discussions at Image talk:Flag of Italy.svg, Image talk:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg, and Image talk:Flag of Fiji.svg about what Pantone colours should be used.

What I propose is that this project define a set of Pantone approximations for use on Commons—i.e. our own Pantone chart— so someone wanting to draw a flag with Pantone colours will look up a colour chart recommended/mandated (?) for use here, created by us for us. Hopefully this will move disputes about colours from the image talk pages to a singe discussion page devoted to colours, monitored by people knowlegeable in the subject.

I've noticed that people (incl. me) have used either internet pantone charts (of which there are many) or have been using Photoshop for approximations. However what this fails to address are the various issues such as

  • sRGB or Adobe colour space?
  • have these been actually checked with someone who has correctly calibrated his monitor and has access to a Pantone swatch book? (which eventually leads to: what does "accurate" mean?)
  • Are Wikimedia resources ever going to be put on paper?
  • and a lot more other questions

I think that those questions and a lot more need to be addressed in order to get a set of colours for use on Commons. One thing I'd like to get out of the way here is that if a government officially defines RGB values for a flag this worry will not apply at all (obviously). Once the above are solved, colours could be found by:

  • extracting the appropriate RGBs from an authoritative source like Pantone Colorist; or if this is not possible—
  • Multiple users with actual Pantone books could set up their computers and room lighting and find colours by eye--intensive and not so exact, hence the need for multiple takes;
  • etc etc.

I know that the above proposal is not in depth or exact but I hope this sparks a discussion on what to do about the various disputes in the long run. I'm not a professional either so if someone knows more please feel free to strike incorrect/"strange"/impossible parts from my text above. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 23:36, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

In my experience here I've found that other people's Pantone approximates are usually the same as the ones I would use, so I don't see a problem there. The only list I think would be worth compiling is one of the official Pantone conversions, which would undoubtedly be copyright infringement. ¦ Reisio 05:29, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
IIRC Pantone Colorist provides two sets of RGB values depending on whether you use sRGB or Adobe colour space, which is why I noted that above. If my knowledge about the colour spaces is correct sRGB is more suited for web/digital use (what Wikimedia projects mostly are atm) while Adobe c.s. is aimed more towards print projects. And the copyright issue is why I have raised the idea of multiple users with calibrated monitors to find the RGB themselves. While at first glance I too that this unified Pantone proposal seems excessive, I think in the long run this will prevent a lot of headaches. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 05:52, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Here are some useful links to explain colour spaces: [1] w:en:Color space w:en:Absolute color space w:en:SRGB w:en:Adobe RGB color space. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 06:02, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
I would love it if someone could nail down the Pantone issue once and for all. Doesn't Pantone sell a Pantone->RGB conversion chart? I've been using random conversion charts found on the web, but I can't really be sure how accurate they are. User:dbenbenn 08:03, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
I'm currently drafting a house Pantone colour chart that we can use here on the Commons. I'm deriving the colour chart from Adobe Photoshop CS, using the sRGB color space. Denelson83 08:28, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for starting Denelson83. This list of colours used on British (and derived) flags could be a useful list to convert since a lot of flags use them (of course my priority is not your priority). Also Dbenbenn, Pantone Colorist is the official converter you have in mind. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 08:56, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
And it's finished, Greentubing. A house Pantone colour reference is now available at Commons:Pantone color chart. Denelson83 04:23, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
(I've left a thank-you at your EN:WP talk page.) Based on the new chart, a list of these colours for editors of British flags can be found here. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 05:43, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

(new side topic) My two cents on the colour space questions are that sRGB is the way to go. The sRGB colour profile ships with most (?) versions of Windows whereas you probably need to buy an Adobe product to get the Adobe configuration file. Plus IMO most end users have neither the knowledge nor patience to calibrate monitors for either sRGB or Adobe so I think its best to stick to what the default settings are on end-users' machines. That said:

  • Even if sRGB is chosen the colours will never appear the same even between two sRGB machines unless the monitors are correctly set up wrt contrast/brightness/backlighting etc; and
  • Adobe has a wider colour range and from what I've read, is technically superior, even if very few people can use it properly. See this demonstration (scroll till the flower pictures) to see the effects of using the correct colour profile on viewing images. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 09:23, 12 February 2006 (UTC)
    • Well, I could try and change the settings on my monitor, since I really think that is most of the complaints I get, and the colors only look right when I kneel down). I can try and learn Adobe, but I am going to wait and see what y'all say before I take action. Zach (Smack Back) 06:26, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Note: This discussion has been copied from Commons talk:WikiProject Flags. Please add new comments here.

Testing 186 and 280[edit]

I put this up on the main flags wikiproject page but removed it again so I could test the colours. I applied 186/280 on Image:Flag of the United Kingdom.svg and it gives washed-out results (probably Photoshop CS's fault). I'll try to get my hands on CorelDraw so I can get a second opinion on the colours and will upload a second chart as soon as this is done. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 06:09, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

  • Given values for 186 and 280 in two different editors:
Editor 186 C 280 C
CorelDRAW 10 #CE1225 #002C82
Adobe Photoshop CS #DA4A4E #1C2695

CorelDRAW colors are uncorrected. -- Denelson83 06:47, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Well I can't give a definitive answer until I can hold up a swatch book to the screen to compare. What do you mean by "uncorrected?" (for alpha by any chance?). I'm not saying that the present UK flag is absolutely correct wrt colours, but imo I have to say that Corel does come convincingly close. I've added the flag colours to the above table:
Editor 186 C 280 C
Union Flag of 03:40, 12Feb2006 (current) #CE1226 #002B7F
CorelDRAW 10 #CE1225 #002C82
Adobe Photoshop CS #DA4A4E #1C2695
The colour difference might be a bit too subtle on the talk page, but the change becomes apparent when you lay them on top of each other in an editor. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 07:29, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
By "uncorrected", I mean there is no color management to set to sRGB or Adobe or any color space, which can then be applied to these colors. Denelson83 08:00, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

BTW, I have started moving the color chips in the table into templates, eliminating any data redundancy, and so they can easily be changed to Corel colors at your discretion. Denelson83 08:02, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Copyright issues[edit]

Um, I think this chart is probably illegal. w:Pantone says "Pantone asserts that their list of color numbers and values is the intellectual property of Pantone and free use of the list is not allowed." Although Pantone can't copyright any particular color, they can copyright the collection of colors as a whole. I'm afraid this table can't be hosted here. User:dbenbenn 08:59, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Does that statement even have a source? Denelson83 09:06, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
Also, BTW, note that at the top of this page, it says "approximations". That was all I was trying to provide--a reference of approximations of Pantone colors. If this reference were to stay on the Commons, shouldn't we say that these are not Pantone colors? Denelson83 09:24, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
They're probably either 1) accurate (official codes from Pantone) or 2) allowed on Commons; I doubt they can be both. ¦ Reisio 00:52, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
I checked out Adobe Photoshop CS2 and CorelDraw 13:
  • Adobe Photoshop CS2 (v. 9.0): "PANTONE® Colors displayed in the software application or in the user documentation may not match PANTONE-identified standards. Consult current PANTONE Color Publications for accurate color. PANTONE® and other Pantone, Inc. trademarks are the property of Pantone, Inc. © Pantone, Inc., 2001. Pantone, Inc. is the copyright owner of color data and/or software which are licensed to Adobe Systems Incorporated to distribute for use only in combination with Adobe Photoshop. PANTONE Color Data and/or Software shall not be copied onto another disk or into memory unless as part of the execution of Adobe Photoshop."
  • CorelDraw 13 (v. "PANTONE(R) Colors displayed in the software application or in the user documentation may not match PANTONE-identified standards. Consult current PANTONE Color Publications for accurate color. PANTONE(R) and other Pantone, Inc. trademarks are the property of Pantone, Inc. (c) Pantone, Inc., 2005."
In light of Adobe's legal notice, I will replace the current colours with CorelDraw's colours, which do not have a restriction. It might be interesting to know that even professional design houses copy Corel's list. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 01:16, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Excellent. Yeah, I should have used the Corel list instead.
BTW, do you think you could complete the "modularization" of that color chart, i.e. putting each color sample on that chart into Template:Color chip? Denelson83 01:25, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Yep, I was planning on doing that myself anyway :D. You should take a well-earned rest! Greentubing (en:WP talk) 01:41, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Wow a "professional design house"?! They must really know what they're doing if they can sell it! Only smart, detail-oriented people can sell stuff, after all; stupid people are never professionals. ¦ Reisio 03:27, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Heh, I was only pointing out that there's precedent for using Corel colours too (to counter "but everyone uses Adobe" arguments — I'm not in any way putting down Commons contributors... of course professionals are fallible, even more so than us in some areas. Perhaps my emphasis was misplaced.Greentubing (en:WP talk) 03:38, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
As I expected, this is what I found in the latest CorelDRAW's 'Legal Notices' dialog:
"PANTONE(R) Colors displayed in the software application or in the user documentation may not match PANTONE-identified standards. Consult current PANTONE Color Publications for accurate color. PANTONE(R) and other Pantone, Inc. trademarks are the property of Pantone, Inc. (c) Pantone, Inc., 2005.
Pantone, Inc. is the copyright owner of color data and/or software which are licensed to Corel Corporation to distribute for use only in combination with CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. PANTONE Color Data and/or Software shall not be copied onto another disk or into memory unless as part of the execution of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite." [2]
It's just as restrictive as Adobe's. It'd most likely be so even if it didn't explicitly say so. ¦ Reisio 03:42, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Hm I guess I missed that when searching for it. In which case that means we'll have to delete the colour charts and leave nothing since short extracts would be "fair use" and not be allowed on Commons. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 04:05, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
If no-one objects, I will put the pages up on Commons:Deletion requests unless someone tells me not to. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 04:20, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Then I guess we'll have to excise all references to Pantone colors from all Wikimedia projects, because they can't be cited otherwise. Denelson83 04:28, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Well I mean such a large collection of colours (since its pretty much their entire solid coated database). I certainly don't want to delete this. Is there a way to save some of this data? (BTW I've done converting the chart to the colour chip template and to Corel but have not uploaded it yet due to this.) Greentubing (en:WP talk) 04:32, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, with this tangled legal web the Pantone library is in, it doesn't look like we can. So, to your initial question of "Unified set of Pantone approximations for Wikimedia Commons flags?", there may be only one valid answer; "no." :( Denelson83 04:36, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Deletion request put on Commons:Deletion requests#Colour charts (Commons:Pantone color chart and Commons:Pantone color chart/British flag colors). Greentubing (en:WP talk) 04:39, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
What we can legally do is make a list of links to files that have used the approximates (from Corel or Adobe or elsewhere). Less cool, but legal. ¦ Reisio 04:58, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Well if I was asked to recommend a Pantone source, it would be CorelDraw X3 since the colours are similar to what other people have grabbed for Pantone colours in the various Commons flags. Adobe's colours imo are just way too light--they'd probably look really good out of a printer but I think we should prioritise the screen. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 05:02, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Making a list of links would result in a square-one error, as those files would not agree with one another. And if we were going to use CorelDraw X3 colours, we would have to find that list elsewhere on the Web, as not all flag contributors even have CorelDraw X3. Denelson83 05:06, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Here is a list which matches with Corel's data: [3] (same link as above) with a note "These conversions are based on the CorelDRAW v12 Pantone Solid Coated or Pastel Coated look-up tables and the sRGB colour space." The random checks I've done seem to match up with my list. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 05:10, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Well, that means we'll all have to agree that that link you gave us will be our "house reference". Denelson83 05:12, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Should it be put to a vote somewhere? Greentubing (en:WP talk) 22:15, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Since polls are evil, let's try to build consensus instead. Denelson83 23:13, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
We don't really need to make a decision. We've got the reference - just cite it (on the Image's page) when you use it, and any unreasonable/unjustified changes will be promptly reverted. ¦ Reisio 23:37, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
A long time has passed, but to answer the very first question, the main reference used for the IP issues in the Pantone article was [4]. I think eventual action by Pantone is likely, as sites offering Pantone charts never seen to stay around for long. 07:54, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Well, in this case, I think if Pantone says to take it down, we should take a stand and say no. Denelson83 09:50, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
We could devise a system not related to Pantone whose code numbers (plus or minus some constant) coincidentally produced "similar" colors to that of Pantone. Yaddah 07:18, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Page is now blanked and protected, and the history excised, apparently on request of Wikimedia Foundation. Is there anything ordinary users can do to assist in finding a resolution? --InfantGorilla 01:21, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

See Commons:Administrators' noticeboard#Pantone for further discussion. --InfantGorilla 02:40, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
FYI, now archived at Commons:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive 1#Pantone. DragonHawk 23:42, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Deletion request[edit]

This chart survived a deletion request. The debate can be found here. Greentubing (en:WP talk) 02:05, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

That discussion is now artived at Commons:Deletion requests/Archives07#Colour charts (Commons:Pantone color chart and Commons:Pantone color chart/British flag colors) -- Finlay McWalter 15:36, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Process & spot colors[edit]

I thought they were the other way around, the huge list of swatches being process colors and CMYK being spot colors. Acdx 19:29, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

I'm afraid you're mistaken, and you must be misreading the Wikipedia articles.  :)
The way I remember the distinction is that process colours are colours produced by a process of combining other colours, while spot colours are pure premixed colours where every individual spot of ink is the desired colour.

Alternate method of storing Pantone color information[edit]

If there were legal action taken by Pantone against this page I think replacing the Pantone color chart with an image would be much more defensible. This would be the reasoning behind it:

  • It is 'legal' to use and refer to specific Pantone colors in an image file (jpg, png, svg)
  • It is 'legal' to create an image which contains any number of colors
  • It is therefore 'legal' to create an image which refers to all of the Pantone colors (under the auspice of the image being 'just an image file' (i.e. not a reference, not a database))

In the case of SVG, it would be very easy to parse the Pantone color out along with the approximate RGB color value.

Just an idea.. -- 01:49, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

  • It would be trivially easy for any lawyer (or law student for that matter) to pierce the argument that because it's an image, it's magically protected from copyright analysis, if that's what's being proposed. Personally I'd prefer to challenge the copyrightability of Pantone color numbers, but then I am not holding the purse strings of the Foundation. Tempshill 18:34, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

It looks like the world needs a free alternative to Pantone.[edit]


It looks like the world needs a free (in the sense of freedom) alternative to Pantone.

What do you think?


My thoughts exactly! Rich Farmbrough 23:33, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Doesnt't it have one already (at least where it comes to WWW content) however? After all the colors here are as far as I know all translated into RGB codes with 0-255 values each for the red, green and blue components - and those RGB codes are well documented and completely free to use. I believe the trick is in deciding how best to represent the Pantone colors (which seem to be focused on obtaining very specific colors on concrete material) on computer screens and printouts (which are somewhat variable due to various factors). And apparently there are copyright issues with using or even making a simple table of correspondence between Pantone codes and RGB ones. Am I mistaken? If so, how? I would really like to know. Luis Dantas 13:13, 26 September 2007 (UTC)
  • Seems simple doesn't it; the only problem I can see is that unfortuately pantone can use any number of Primaries (up to 18 *vauge memory*) to create any given 'Pantone Colour', meaning that when you compare the thoretical colour spaces of either the sRGB or Adobe RGB, the matching throretical range of pantone is MUCH greater, so like most things when you try to convert from a large set of values to a smaller set you get a loss of fidelity. (think JPEG/MP3 compression; its not a bad analogy). In the case of the the colour conversion you will end up with several pantone colours mapping to the same RGB values, and many being very inaccurately mapped. But in reality how much of an issue this is for anyone printing out a flag on their $40 Epson for a school report (chances of the average CMYK desktop printer hitting a pantone colour is < 10%), and anyone seriously worried about the colour fidelity shouldn't be getting their material from Wiki in my opinion. Interesting thread to read through by the way, it's nice to see people actuall thinking about this kind of stuff. 20:29, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Commons:Pantone colour chart needs to be protected as well[edit]

Since „colour“ is the British spelling for „color“, we should protect Commons:Pantone colour chart as well. -- 21:29, 8 January 2015 (UTC)