Accessibility and Pantone Tools Added to Adobe Color
Two new tools have been added to Adobe Color services this year: Just this month, a new feature was added to help identify and correct potential problems between colors when viewed by people with color blindness. The other tool lets you create a Pantone color theme, based on the colors in an existing color theme using RGB, CMYK, Lab or HSB color models. A color theme is a set of five color swatches chosen to represent color harmonies.
Adobe Color services are found at the Adobe Color website (color.adobe.com) and in InDesign’s Color Themes panel. I described these color tools in “InDesign’s Hidden Color Tools,” InDesign Magazine #106, February 2018. The new features described here are found at the Adobe Color website, and not in InDesign itself.
Building Tools for Accessibility
Color vision deficiency, better known as color blindness, affects about 3-5% of the world’s population. It’s helpful when designing with color to start with accessible design. Adobe Color can now make that process easier.
There are three common types of color blindness—protanopia, deuteranopia, and tritanopia. Each of these deficiencies prevent people from distinguishing particular colors. With Adobe Color’s new accessibility tools, you can check a color theme against these three types of deficiency. While Illustrator has had a tool for checking this, InDesign has not.
There are two ways to test for color blindness design issues in Adobe Color: (1) Open color.adobe.com to the Color Wheel interface, and use the controls to create a color theme (as described in my article), then click the Accessibility Tools tab; or (2) open a color theme already saved in a Creative Cloud library to view it in the Color Wheel, and click the Accessibility Tools tab (Figure 1). The simulator displays how the swatches will display with each type of deficiency. You can drag sliders or move swatches on the color wheel to resolve these problems. For more details, see the blog post “Celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day with Adobe Color.”
Creating Pantone Themes from Existing Color Themes
The Adobe Color workflow allows you to create color themes from RGB, CMYK, Lab and HSB color models. If you’d like to work with those colors as a Pantone match using any of Pantone’s books for graphics or even its Fashion Home + Interiors System, Adobe Color can do the conversion automatically.
Start by opening the Adobe Color website, and select the My Libraries tab. From your Creative Cloud Library files, select a color theme you’d like to convert (Figure 2). Click on that theme to open a large preview of the existing color theme (Figure 3). At the bottom of the window, click PANTONE MATCHES. From the Pantone Books menu that is revealed, select the Pantone book you’d like to convert the color theme to. The closest match will be made for each swatch. In the illustration, I chose Color Bridge Coated and the five Pantone swatches of the new color theme appear.
You can save the swatches as an ASE (Adobe Swatch Exchange) file, or as a JPEG image with the color information in the Download As menu (bottom right in Figure 3). When imported into Adobe InDesign, the color group of Pantone swatches is shown next to the original color theme displayed in the CC Library panel (Figure 4).