Big Pricing Changes to Access Pantone Colors in Adobe Products


Adobe and Pantone have finally rolled out big changes to the pricing structure for designers using Pantone’s industry-standard color books in Adobe’s products.

Multiple tech news outlets, including 9to5Mac and The Verge, have reported on the new $15/mo subscription to Pantone Connect that few were ready for.

“Pantone colors have long been free to use in Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator – but that’s now changed. If you want to use the industry-standard colors in future, you’ll need to pay a $15/month subscription.

Worse, if you have existing PSD files which use the color set, you may find that they have been replaced with black if you don’t buy the subscription …”

Ben Lovejoy of 9to5Mac

If you were caught off guard, so were ProEdit’s Adobe Creative Cloud users, and many more in the content design industry. Most Adobe software products (think Photoshop and Illustrator) have always had the Pantone Color Books available for “free” to use. But there was a catch… Adobe paid Pantone for their customers’ use of those colors! That was then. Now, the onus for paying Pantone’s licensing fees is on the (new) Pantone customer through Pantone Connect.

To be fair to Adobe and Pantone, these changes were announced in June 2022, and began rolling out through software updates in August.

“As we had shared in June, Pantone decided to change its business model. Some of the Pantone Color Books that are pre-loaded in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign were phased-out from future software updates in August 2022,” said Ashley Still, senior vice president of digital media marketing, strategy, and global partnerships at Adobe in a statement to The Verge. “To access the complete set of Pantone Color Books, Pantone now requires customers to purchase a premium license through Pantone Connect and install a plug-in using Adobe Exchange.”

You now have to pay to use Pantone colors in Adobe products by Jess Weatherbed

What To Do If Your Projects Are Affected

If you use Pantone Colors in Adobe products, open your projects now! According to Pantone’s FAQ, “existing Creative Cloud files and documents containing Pantone Color references will keep those color identities and information.” However, Photoshop users are reporting that Pantone Colors now appear as black. Effectively, the color is gone without a similar replacement.

Try a workaround from Adobe, Pantone, or search YouTube

Adobe provided some workarounds in August and an FAQ about the changes in September. Pantone has it’s own FAQ as well. If those don’t suffice, workarounds are popping up in YouTube, such as this one by Apple-certified trainer Iain Anderson. Iain’s video provides a clear explanation of what’s going on and how to work around it.

Or just roll with these changes from Adobe and Pantone

Designers are used to rolling with sudden changes, from clients as well as software and color suppliers. These changes from Adobe and Pantone join the list. If you are required to use Pantone’s colors and Adobe’s software, you will need to move forward with the $15/month ($90/year) Pantone Connect subscription and the (still FREE) Pantone Connect plugin from Adobe Exchange.

Sometimes the path to design success and client satisfaction in the long run is to accept the tides of change.