Saturday, 27 October 2012


A popular color matching system used by the printing industry to print spot colors. Most applications that support colour printing allow you to specify colors by indicating the Pantone name or number. This assures that you get the right color when the file is printed, even though the color may not look right when displayed on your monitor.
PMS works well for spot colors but not for process colors, which are generally specified using the CMYK color model.
The first color matching system for designers was developed by Pantone in 1963. The primary tool in the Pantone Matching System (commonly referred to as PMS) was the Pantone forumula guide. This guide was designed to allow graphic designers and printers to communicate color by referencing a Pantone number. This was a huge improvement, as in the past every ink company had their own color system and there was no way to correlate "Firecracker Red" from one ink company to another. The Pantone formula guide was also built around an ink mixing system, which made it much easier for ink companies to provide consistant color accross multiple locations. Early versions of the Pantone formula guide had 747 different colors, on coated and uncoated stocks.
This concept, of color consistency from designer-to printer-to ink maker-to client, is the real strength of the Pantone Matching System. If everyone in the process has a Pantone formula guide, they can look at the same 185 red, and they are all seeing the same color. The designer specifies a color, the printer orders ink in that color, prints using that color, and the client gets exactly what they want. This end to end color control explains why Pantone has become the worldwide standard for color since it's introduction.
Today's Pantone Matching System features 1,341 Pantone solid colors, printed on coated, uncoated, and matte papers. Each page contains 7 colors, with ink mixing formulas. The pages also include an RGB icon rgb icon, indicating colors achievable on-screen, and an CMYK icon CMYK icon, indicating colors achievable in CMYK color printing. Colors that bear both the RGB and CMYK icons are ideal choices for designs that will be reproduced using multiple processes.
Software developers have also made it easy for designers to incorporate Pantone solid colors in their design projects. There are some issues, however. The Pantone formula guides are printed using inks and pigments, while computer monitors reproduce the colors using Red Green and Blue light. This issue causes a lot of confusion due to the different appearance of printed Pantone colors and viewed Pantone colors (on a computer monitor). That's why it advisable to only use a Pantone formula guide to specifiy or determine a Pantone solid colour.
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.

1 comment:

  1. Pantone Formula Guide Solid Coated is the best pantonecolor chart and a must-have tool for designers and professional involved in the business of color consulting and color intelligence.