[Scribus] Color swatches - Legal and technical issues

Branko Vukelic bg.branko
Wed Jan 31 21:17:05 CET 2007

On Wednesday 31 January 2007 19:51:46 jon wrote:
> Am 31.01.2007 um 19:04 schrieb Louis Desjardins:
> > Gregory Pittman a ?crit :
> >> Branko Vukelic wrote:
> >>> Joining this debate on color a bit late.
> >>>
> >>> I think, too, that an open alternative to any proprietary color
> >>> system
> >>> would be beneficial. First of all, it would be possible to describe
> >>> colors in a consistent and standard way, and every major (or minor,
> >>> for that matter) software vendor would be free to implement it.
> >>> Secondly, anyone who knows how to measure color would be able to
> >>> invent *proprietary* formulas, make profit off it and still use the
> >>> open color system as a reference. There could be, for instance, 3, or
> >>> 4, or 100 different formulas for color OpenMatch ABC123 and from
> >>> different vendors. Suddenly the printers would no longer have to rely
> >>> upon one producer for their supplies.
> Do they have to? Here in Europe it's at least 2main color systems
> (and other continents may have their own specialized systems):
> HKS and Pantone (with the largest palette).
> HKS is adopted by some/many? printing color manufacturers. Pantone
> isn't.

HKS follows many standards, but it is still limited and proprietary.

> As far as I may understand your claim, an open match table might collect
> widely (world-wide?) spread color systems from different manufacturers?
> There is, in my opinion, only one wich is spread widely enough to
> fullfill this
> need. May be I am wrong?

Yes, you are wrong. All of you who are interested in this topic, I was not 
talking about producing a clone of PANTONE and/or HKS (or whatever other 
proprietary system). I am talking about an *alternative* system that would 
have little to do with any of the existing systems except in that it will 
provide the same type of colors, that are:

1. out of gamut of conventional CMYK process colors
2. reproducible by using known technological means
3. free to implement by software developers
4. (fill in the blank for other problems that may need solving)

> Why should a vendor produce colors different from the main system(s),
> and
> what might be her benefit?

The benefit is not in producing colors different from the major (not main) 
systems. The benefit is in having a standard and *open* system that enable 
any producer to produce the colors in any way they see fit as long as they 
are compliant. You could also use PANTONE as a standard, but it would not be 
*open* meaning software developers are not free to implement it.

> Most printers/printshops (40 down to 6 people) I know are happy to rely
> on only
> one or two producers.

However, they *can* only rely on one or two producers. They would just have 
more to pick from and the competition will be sure to have a huge economic 
impact by forcing competitors to lower prices (including PANTONE). If 
OpenMach standard (or whatever its name) succeeds in achieving its goals, 
PANTONE will only have its name to protect it from the impact. And that will, 
too, gradually diminish in importance, and it will eventually have to yield.

> None of them is able to provide even the full range of Pantone colors
> from stock.
> They mix certain colors from the range they have available. Imo it's
> not likely they
> want to put more pots of a completely different color systems from
> different vendors,
> which stay half empty and that they cannot blend, in their stock.
> Pantone offers a wide range of colors (and color samples), the
> standards are
> guaranteed and customers are used to it.

Yes, but PANTONE is still there distributing its products, so there is demand. 
You have picked a common small-to-medium shop which doesn't qualify as a 
sample. Also, note that we are not solving the issue of costs of producing 
standard-compliant colors but the one of *introducing* the standard and 
possible benefits it could bring us.

> How wide (world in mind) might an open matching system spread? How to
> guarantee
> all color formulars are interoperable (chemical, physical)?

That seems to be the major obstacle. However, if the new open standard was to 
be made into a full ISO standard, the problem of compatibility AND compliancy 
would be solved.

Another solution is to create a consortium of ink producers that would govern 
the standard, provided the standard remains open. Such a thing can be 
compared to W3C (http://www.w3c.org/).

> Don't misunderstand, I would very much appreciate an open standard -
> but for now
> I don't think there are substantial needs or benefits in it.

Time will tell, is all I can say. :)

> Pantones numbers are meant to be used as and are commonly known as
> names.

AFAIK, only PANTONE process colors (the ones that are mixed to create the full 
range of PANTONE colors) have names. The other colors are numbered.

> Why should numbers not be used as names? 

Simple. Whatever names or numbers you use, it is only relevant as far as it 
enables communication between you and the printer.

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