Colour displayed online and mobiles etc are made up of Red, Green and Blue, hence the term RGB. These are the colours created by light and should be used when making web sites, web banners and media for screen use. Colours used for printing on the other hand are based upon inks Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y) and Black (K) – CMYK. By mixing varying amounts of inks colours are created.
Constructed using mathematical formulas rather than individual colored blocks (Pixels), vector file types such as .EPS and .AI are excellent for creating graphics that require resizing. Company logos and associated graphics are recommended to be created as a vectors. This means the logo can be used for printing/debossing on items such as business card and letterhead, but also on larger surfaces, such as your corporate yacht!. Vector files can be scaled indefinitely without any loss of quality, therefore making them perfect for use in creating debossing and foiling dies. Adobe Illustrator is the most commonly used vector creation application.
The Pantone® Color Matching System (PMS) is a standardised colour reproduction system. By standardising the colours designers/agencies can specify from the Pantone Colour chart what colour to use. This ensures whoever is printing will achieve the correct colour match. Corporate logos are often created and specific an exact colour to be used.
Unless you have Adobe Acrobat, (which is quite expensive if you only need to make occasional edits), then some of the other alternatives can be problematical. For instance, Adobe Illustrator will load pdf’s however, if you don’t have the same fonts on your system that were used in the pdf, then you would need to go back to the originator of the pdf, and ask them to convert all fonts to outlines. But then, if you’re doing that, the originator might as well make the edits! This may also be chargeable.
Generally, no! Some colours are fairly representative whereas others are a long way off. The monitor you view your proof on is a device that mixes colours using red, green and blue (RGB). Without getting too technical, if your monitor has not been calibrated to display a Pantone® colour, then it’s unlikely you will see an accurate representation.
The main problems with these type of programs is that initially, they are not aimed at the print professional. As you know, they can do a superb job creating in-house stationery, presentations etc. and printing directly to desktop machines. (Publisher has improved over the years and can produce acceptable results). One of the main downsides for instance is that if you insert an image in Word this is embedded as a pixel-based image at 72dpi (presumably to keep file sizes down) and consequently would give poor results