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I am new to Affinty's software. I'm trying to move to them from Adobe's far more expensive products. Overall, I love the apps. Very usable and modern. However, I have had repeated problems with spot colors. For the life of me I can't figure out how to add spot colors to my swatches palettes as spot colors and then apply them to objects. Whenever I look up a Pantone color and add it to the swatches palette it gets added as CMYK. I have tried following advice in threads on here and on Affinity's help system to add spot colors, but then I end up on a screen where I can't search for the exact Pantone color I need. 

The whole thing baffles me. If I'm looking up a Pantone color and then adding that as a swatch it should always be added as a spot color by default. That's just basic user expectation. I get that there should be a function to convert that spot color to CMYK, RGB, etc, but if I'm picking a spot color, why isn't it coming through as a spot color?

Is there anywhere I can look online with simple instructions on how to do the following in Affinity Designer: select a specific spot color (let's say Pantone 288 C), and create a swatch of it solely as a spot color?

Thank you all in advance for help!

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Yes it's super over complicated - If only we had global and spot colours as the default option, and maybe have a tick box option to enable the horrible way? - anyway you need to create a document palette for globals or spots :

Screen Grab 2021-02-03 at 17.46.22.png

Screen Grab 2021-02-03 at 17.47.05.png


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This is the way I do this.

a) Create dummy swatch rectangles for the amount of swatches you need, and create a document palette and make sure that the swatches are shown as a list. It helps to rename the document palette as "Document" to prevent Affinity app to auto-create a document palette with this name (and switch views between the palettes).


b) Make sure that you pick a true spot color palette, e.g. PANTONE Formula Guide Solid Coated V4. Many of the palettes marked with + and Bridge palettes are CMYK palettes, not spot color palettes. 


c) Select your rectangles one by one and give them the desired spot color definitions.


d) Select the first of the rectangles with spot color assignment and click the "Add current fill to palette" button to add the color on your document palette as a new spot color swatch.


e) Continue until you have all swatches on the list. As you can see, you have meaningful names for the swatches. If you had added the swatches by using the second button, it would have given the swatches more or less useless names like "Global 1", "Global 2", etc. On the other hand, now your spot colors are still local and not global colors (meaning that color assignments you make with them could not be later changed globally for objects having these assignments).


f) So make the swatches global, if needed:


g) Now you are ready to use your spot color swatches and assign objects with them:


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Thank you both! I think I have it figured out. I've saved my Pantone colors and their CMYK equivalents as swatches on an Application Palette, which seems to be available to any document I open or create. I appreciate the quick and clarifying feedback!

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48 minutes ago, KirkMcPike said:

I've saved my Pantone colors and their CMYK equivalents as swatches on an Application Palette, which seems to be available to any document I open or create

Yes, but note that colors of an application palette cannot be global, so if you want to have global colors, you can create a document color profile with global colors and then specify it as a default for e.g. CMYK documents.


You can also export document palettes and then import them to be used in different kinds of projects.

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I guess I don't understand the value of a "Global" spot color. When I saved them to a "Document" palette, I couldn't find them when opening a new document. I just want to be able to quickly pull up my proper spot colors whenever working on something involving a political campaign logo. Is there an advantage to a "Global" swatch as opposed to swatches in an Application palette?

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"Global" does not mean globally available in the app and all documents. That would be the Application Palette.

Application palette = always available in the app (any document you open) 
Document palette = Available only in that one document where the palette lives
Global colour = If you change that global colour, every element which uses that global colour gets updated with that change. Afaik this is on a per-document level.

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I suppose the terminology is taken directly from Illustrator, where spot colors cannot be but global, no matter whether they are user-defined, or library based, so therefore I mentioned this in context of spot colors:



Affinity palettes are a mess, and their concept of global swatch a bit peculiar, but they work to some extent similarly as in e.g. Illustrator so that you can e.g. create tints based on a global swatch, then assign objects with these swatches, and later modify the base and the change is carried out to all objects using that swatch and tints based on it. There is typically less need for that kind of changes when using library spot colors, but when using other kinds of definitions the benefits are obvious. In the forthcoming just released 1.9 version objects can be selected by e.g. a shared color so some improvement is about to happen to alleviate problems with poor palette functionality. 

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On 2/4/2021 at 6:10 AM, Lagarto said:

This is the way I do this …


@Lagarto, your comment should be pinned to the top of the forums permanently and turned into an official tutorial. Or better still, Affinity devs could fix this whole mess!

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