The removal of Pantone’s colors from Adobe’s software was meant to happen March 31 this year, but that date came and went. It was then due for August 16, then August 31. However, this month, people are noticing the effects, reporting issues with creations using Pantone’s spot colors. And the solution? It’s an Adobe plug-in to “minimize workflow disruption and to provide the updated libraries to the Adobe Creative Cloud users.” Which, of course, costs $15 a month. It’s Netflix, but for coloring in!

However, Pantone still states in its out-of-date FAQ that, “This update will have minimal impact on a designer’s workflow. Existing Creative Cloud files and documents containing Pantone Color references will keep those color identities and information.” Yet today, people are reporting that their Photoshop is informing them, “This file has Pantone colors that have been removed and replaced with black due to changes in Pantone’s licensing with Adobe.”


Others have reported that even attaching a Pantone license within Photoshop isn’t fixing the issue, colors still replaced by black, and workarounds sound like a pain.

We’ve reached out to both Pantone and Adobe, and will update should either get back to us.


We, as a species, are in a very interesting time when it comes to so-called “Intellectual Property.” As rules applying to physical objects were poorly imposed on digital items, usually controlled by those with the most money to spend and lose, we’ve seen this sort of nonsense spread from music to movies to digital art, and now the very colors they’re made from themselves. And it always seems to end in our having to pay even more money.

It’s also just becoming more common to have to pay for aspects of services that used to be free. BMW charges some people for heated seats.


There are workarounds to this specific issue, however. Not least freeing yourself from the misery of such closed software, where ridiculous situations are able to breed like rabbits. There’s Free Software like Gimp, and free, open color schemes like Open Color. Of course, there are always introduced difficulties when stepping away from industry standards, but then, if we all did it, those problems would go away pretty fast.

If you need or want to stick to Adobe projects, then there are solutions there too. Free ones. Check out the video below for one.

Graphic Design How To

Another tip suggested by Print Week is to back up your Pantone libraries, then re-importing them when your Adobe software updates to remove them, or if it’s too late, finding a friend who already did. There’s a good chance this’ll work, given Pantone’s colors are stored as .ACB files, just as the rest of Photoshop’s colors.


Or, you know, you could just copy the metadata values of the Pantone range.