Pantone wants $15/month for the privilege of using its colors in Photoshop

Enlarge / The Pantone Solid Coated and Solid Uncoated coloration libraries are disappearing from Adobe’s apps in some unspecified time in the future, although the precise timing is not clear.


If you wish to use up-to-date variations of Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps, you’ve got already been paying subscription charges for years now. And if you wish to use Pantone colors inside of Adobe’s apps, it is about to get much more costly. Starting this month, the Pantone coloration books in Adobe’s apps are principally going away, and persevering with to make use of these colors in your information would require a brand new Pantone Connect extension.

Using that extension is free as soon as you’ve got created an account, however using the full library of colors, creating limitless coloration palettes, and “a dozen more tools to create smarter, more impactful palettes” will now require a subscription that may run $15 per 30 days or $90 per 12 months, on prime of what you are already paying to make use of Adobe’s apps in the first place. I may flick thru colors using the primary model of the extension, however attempting to browse and choose most colors from most libraries prompted me to pay for a subscription.

Strange because it might sound for an organization to have the ability to “own” colors, that is an oversimplification of what Pantone does—it maintains a big library of reference colors and bodily coloration samples used in print publishing and lots of design industries to make sure that colors look the means they’re imagined to look, it doesn’t matter what materials they’re getting used on. If you wish to see what a given coloration will seem like when printed on a matte sheet of paper versus a shiny sheet of paper versus plastic versus material (amongst different issues), and also you wish to know that the producer or printer sees the very same coloration you do, that is when Pantone colors might be helpful. Different laptop, pill, and telephone shows may even present totally different colors otherwise based mostly on how the shows are calibrated and what colors they’re succesful of displaying—Pantone colors and bodily samples assist to remove some guesswork and inconsistency.


Fun occasions forward for #Adobe designers. Today, in case you open a PSD (even one which’s 20 years outdated) with an obscure PANTONE color, it should take away the color and make it black. Pantone need US$21/month for entry, and Solid Coated goes behind the paywall in early November.

— Iain Anderson (@funwithstuff) October 28, 2022

This change appears to be rolling out regularly. Some customers have already encountered Photoshop error messages informing them of the change, and that Pantone colors in outdated Photoshop information are being changed with black after they’re opened in newer variations of the software program. Adobe says that the Solid Coated and Solid Uncoated Pantone libraries might be eliminated “after November 2022,” leaving solely the CMYK Coated, CMYK Uncoated, and Metallic Coated Pantone libraries behind.

Ars requested Adobe about the coloration alternative concern, and have been informed the following by an Adobe spokesperson: “We are currently looking at ways to lessen the impact on our customers. In the meantime, customers also have access to up to 14 extensive color books through Creative Cloud subscriptions.”

On an M1 MacGuide Air operating the most present model of Photoshop, I can nonetheless entry all Pantone coloration libraries as earlier than, together with the Solid Coated and Solid Uncoated libraries which are supposedly going away. (Adding insult to harm for Mac customers, the present model of the Pantone Connect extension is not Apple Silicon-compatible and requires launching the app in the slower Intel emulation mode.)

Pantone colors are still showing up for us as before in Photoshop 24.0 running on an M1 Mac.Enlarge / Pantone colors are nonetheless displaying up for us as earlier than in Photoshop 24.0 operating on an M1 Mac.

Andrew Cunningham

To hear Pantone inform it, Adobe had not been updating the Pantone coloration libraries in its apps for greater than a decade, which prompted the finish of the earlier licensing deal and the wholesale elimination of the outdated libraries from Adobe’s apps in favor of the Pantone Connect Extension. But communication round this concern has been muddled, with conflicting and altering dates for when the elimination of the current Pantone libraries begins and totally different pricing information based mostly on the supply you are taking a look at. The Pantone FAQ and protection from earlier this 12 months record an $8/month or $60/12 months subscription worth for Pantone Connect, a lot decrease than the costs listed on the plugin’s product web page.


That Pantone FAQ additionally claims that “existing Creative Cloud files and documents containing Pantone Color references will keep those color identities and information,” an announcement that appears to be contradicted by the Adobe licensing error message. For its half, Adobe’s FAQ says that variations of its apps launched earlier than August 2022 “will continue to have all previous Pantone Color books pre-loaded and available.”

In a pinch, this implies you may use Creative Cloud’s “other versions” characteristic to put in an older model of your apps that may nonetheless see and work with Pantone colors as you may earlier than (Photoshop 23.4, InDesign 17.3, and Illustrator 26.4 seem like the most up-to-date variations launched earlier than August 2022).

This is simply a stopgap; Adobe does not supply older variations of its apps indefinitely. But for individuals who do not use Pantone colors closely or frequently, it may let you open and modify your information so you do not find yourself with blacked-out colors in your pictures. Others have instructed that manually copying these Pantone coloration libraries from older variations of the apps and re-adding them to the newer variations may be a workaround for some customers.

We requested Adobe about all the contradictory data we have run into: the precise date customers can count on to see these modifications; whether or not outdated information can have their colors eliminated or whether or not they’ll be unchanged; and whether or not any lacking colors might be restored by putting in the Pantone Connect plugin (one thing we will not check for as a result of Pantone colors are nonetheless working effective on our finish). The firm had nothing else to share about these particular questions as of this writing.


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