Where to buy CMYK swatch books

Where to buy CMYK swatch books 1200 600 HelloGriff | Graphic Design
cmyk swatch book

One of the crucial aspects of graphic design for print is making sure what is on your screen matches what comes off the printing press. To avoid disappointment, and costly reprints and maintain a good client/designer relationship, it’s a good idea to use a CMYK swatch book or chart to double-check colour values.

The industry benchmark is Pantone, which produces a wide range of swatch books and colour chip books. The expense of these books can be out of reach for a designer outside of an agency environment, such as a freelancer or recent graduate, therefore also listed below are some cheaper options which may be a preferable option.

Pantone Guides:

1. CMYK Color Guide Coated & Uncoated (SKU: GP5101)
This guide is ideal for printing in a four-colour process. Comes as a set of 2 books – coated and uncoated. The CMYK Guide illustrates 2,868 CMYK process colours and their corresponding values. These colours are unique to the Pantone graphics system and cannot be matched to Pantone spot colours.
Available from Pantone directly, but sometimes cheaper from Amazon

2. Pantone Color Bridge Coated (SKU: GG6103N)
The most versatile tool for graphic and digital designers, unlike the previous Pantone guide, Color Bridge Coated provides a side-by-side visual comparison of Pantone spot colours versus their closest CMYK process printing match, along with corresponding CMYK, Hex and RGB values.
Available from Pantone or Amazon UK

Alternative Colour Guides:

3. Color Index XL: More than 1100 New Palettes with CMYK and RGB Formulas for Designers and Artists
Written by legendary graphic designer Jim Krause, this updated, and expanded resource is a must-have for designers and anyone else who uses colours in their work. This is one that I have bought myself and provides more than 1,100 colour palettes all broken into 4-tone varieties with CMYK and RGB values for each swatch.
Available from Amazon UK

4. The CMYK Bible
Published in 2016 by hellocolour, The CMYK Bible is a professional portable sized 40-page resource for process colour identification, checking and verification designed with an incredibly simple colour index system and all printed on 170gsm silk to FOGRA standards. The CMYK Bible comprises 36 full-page colour charts with a total of 5,184 colour reference samples. The pages look easy to follow with percentage values in 10% increments on the axis of each chart allowing you to find the correct CMYK values.
Available from Amazon UK

5. The Colour Bible
Also published by hellocolour, The Colour Bible offers 1092 colour swatches with 45 complementing gradients all indexed with CMYK swatch values along the bottom of the page for easy reference.
Available from Amazon UK

6. Ultimate 3-in-1 Colour Tool
The Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool, a collection of quick reference cards on a rod, provides a convenient way to choose your colour combinations. This portable guide includes 24 colour cards containing 816 tints, shades and tones; five suggested colour plans for each card; and two colour value finders. Has a good number of reviews.
Available from Amazon UK

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