The Pantone Color Matching System expands upon existing color reproduction systems such as the CMYK process. The CMYK process is a standardized method of printing colour by using four inks—cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The majority of the world's printed material is produced using the CMYK process. The Pantone system is based on a specific mix of pigments to create new colours—referred to as Spot Colours. The Pantone system also allows for many 'special' colours to be produced such as metallics and fluorescents. While most of the Pantone system colours are beyond the printed CMYK gamut, those that are possible to simulate through the CMYK process are labeled as such within the company's guides.
Pantone colours are described by their allocated number (typically referred to as 'PMS 130'). PMS colors are almost always used in branding and have even found their way into government legislation (to describe the colours of flags). In January 2003, the Scottish Parliament debated a petition (reference PE512) to define the blue in the Scottish Flag (saltire) as 'Pantone 300'. Countries such as Canada and South Korea and organizations such as the FIA have also chosen specific Pantone colours to use when producing flags. It is open to speculation whether legislators realize that Pantone may choose to reformulate the colour.