Pantone Prints

Pantone Classic Blue: The color test of the year that predicted Trust, Tranquility, and Stability.

When it was announced that PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue was the color of the year, here at Finepaper we immediately set out to carry out print tests to determine the consistency of this color.

The problem is that, in January, with the first jobs of the year arriving at a good pace, where was there time for that? It was necessary to see Covid-19 to be able to test the color 2020. The results, finally, are here, as is our opinion on whether the choice of Pantone proved correct this year or not.

The choice of the quiet Pantone Classic Blue 19-4052 to represent 2020 might now seem very inappropriate, but we decided to see it as a premonition first. If we don't, in light of recent world events, this choice seems almost an anecdote! This shade of blue, which admittedly transmits a sense of calm, confidence and stability, seems to be ideal to counteract this busy start to the year. We dare to say, that we need to see it much more from now on!

But let's start at the beginning: Classic Blue is a solid and reliable color that gives us firm foundations and that we can always count on, at least that's what Pantone said at the end of 2019, when announced have detected this trend for 2020:

“We live in a time when it is necessary to have faith and trust. This certainty and constancy is expressed by the PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and reliable color that we can count on. Permeated by deep reverberation, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue is a safe haven in which to anchor. A limitless blue like the vast and infinite night sky, PANTONE 198-4052 Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious and thus expand our thinking; challenging us to reflect more deeply, it increases our perspective and opens up the communication channel.”
Leatrice Eiseman | Executive Director of Pantone Institute

Being a politically correct color, a great favorite of institutional design, it is to be expected that Classic Blue will be applied during this year to the fashion, beauty, decoration, graphic design and packaging industries. At Finepaper, we easily notice how reliable and consistent Classic Blue looks. It's a familiar color, one that makes us think of the depth of the night skies, something we've personally experienced and that we can be sure to see every day. Stability that we all need.

In the whirlwind of changes that 2020 has brought us, this Pantone is almost like calm in the storm. In the end, a trend that brings inspiration and hope for the future: the shade of 2020, which began to be dark after all, will certainly end Classic Blue 19-4052. Don't doubt it, Pantone is never wrong!

It was in 2000 that Pantone Color Institute went on to define the “Color of the Year”, starting with Cerulean Pantone 15-4020. Do Cerulean Ao Classic Blue, Pantone has been predicting global color trends and influencing product development.

Let's remember the last ten colors of the year dictated by Pantone:

(Turquoise — Pantone 15-5519; Honeysuckle — Pantone 18-2120; Tangerine Tango — Pantone 17-1463; Emerald — Pantone 17-5641; Radiant Orchid — Pantone 18-3224; Marsala — Pantone 18-1438; Rose Quartz — Pantone 13-1520; Serenity — Pantone 15-3913; Greenery — Pantone 15-0343; Ultra Violet — Pantone 18-3838; Living Coral — Pantone 16-1546; Classic Blue — Pantone 19-4052)

OK, so what now?

Classic Blue 19-4052 simple print tests

Color calibration and printing are always a constant challenge and concern, especially if we take into account all the technologies available today (offset, screen printing, digital printing, UV, eco-solvent, laser, etc.) and the large amount of materials to print (paper, textiles, vinyl, PVC, cardboard, etc...). Getting the right color, once selected, can sometimes be very difficult.

Finepaper is proud to always provide high-quality prints to its customers and this includes, of course, strict color refinement.

If we think, for example, of a complete marketing campaign, where we are going to have to print flyers, brochures, posters, billboards and all kinds of pieces and materials that we can imagine, maintaining color consistency through the various materials and media is, or should be, the main concern of the designer and his graphic company of choice.

Because at Finepaper, we never refused a challenge, I decided to carry out some simple tests to find out what to expect when working with Pantone Classic Blue. These tests are intended to help designers and print professionals who are faced with the task of printing the color of 2020.

Here they are:

We mainly work with digital printing (small and large format). We can assume that 19-4052 in offset is a direct color and so, apart from some variations that will be expected due to the use of different papers, the printing of Classic Blue will not bring great surprises.

The following tests were performed on digital machines: a Konica Minolta AccurioPress 3080, a Mimaki UCVJ-300-160 UV and a Roland XJ-640 Eco-solvent.

As printing materials, we used a 200-gram couché satin paper, a 200g IOR and a matte vinyl, to verify how these differences affect color reproduction. As a visual reference and comparison term, we used the Pantone 19-4052 sample and six samples that we defined in Adobe Illustrator. We chose to use Pantone 647, variations of CMYK and RGB values, as demonstrated in the image below. Why we chose this method, you ask, and we answer.

These are the recommended values on the official website of Pantone And by Encycolorpedia, a site that I consider very useful for everything related to color. On these two sites, we can discover a lot of things, such as what TCX means and other interesting and useful information.

All machines are calibrated and in perfect working condition. The color settings (ICC profiles and Presets of printing) used for these tests are generic/Default that we usually work with.

Of course, this is just a simple test and many, many other criteria could be taken into account when talking about printing. It is by no means a scientific experiment, nor are its conclusions laws. Instead, it should be seen as a useful tool for everyone who is faced with the same issues as us.

2. Results

As we can see, looking at the images below, there are obvious variations when printing in different print modes and ink percentage. These variations are expected and could already be seen in the sample I presented above.

It is also clear, when compared to the Pantone 19-4052 sample, that in the tests carried out at Mimaki and Konica, the first sample using the Pantone 647 is the closest to Classic Blue. On the other hand, when we print with Roland, the closest is the sample solid coated. We can also observe that the prints on Mimaki and Konica are closer to each other than to the print on Roland. This is due to the underlying technology of each of them (Mimaki UV, Konica Dry toner laser and Roland Eco-solvent), the inks/toners and pigments used.

“In relation to the different materials used, once again, predictable color variations are observed. Nevertheless, it's surprising to see that the difference isn't that big. Classic Blue really is a color you can count on.”

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