18 Jan What Are Pantone Colors? (PMS Colors)
In the printing industry, you will often times hear ink colors referred to as either PMS Colors or Pantone Colors. So a common question we are often asked is, “What is a PMS Color?” PMS stands for Pantone Matching System and it is a system developed by Pantone LLC which allows for the precise mixture of ink colors. For the most part, it is a printing industry standard which makes printing precise colors possible. All total, there are 1,114 solid Pantone colors on coated, uncoated, and matte stock. It, of course, is not practical to have each of the 1,1114 ink colors on hand at all times; therefore, this color matching and mixing system allows for printers to mix very specific colors on demand. One think to keep in mind is that PMS colors do NOT apply to full color imprints, since that printed process uses the CMYK system or Process Printing. Process color printing only uses four colors to produce millions of shades of colors. C=Cyan, M=Magenta, Y=Yellow, K=Black. White is used from the paper (or product) source. If white must be printed on a design and the paper or product is not already white, it has to be printed as a spot color such as screen printing or pad printing.
PMS colors are given numerical values to identify the specific color. Some PMS color only differ by a shade or two while some differ drastically. One thing to keep in mind is that when looking at a PMS Color Chart online, your monitor color settings are very likely different than the computer monitor from your printer. If you need to match an exact color with no exceptions, using an official printed Pantone color guide is the only way to ensure an exact match. However, for most printed items, you will get close enough from viewing an online color chart. On the right, you will see an example of part of the PMS color chart to show you an example of the different color shades from one PMS color to the next.
Below is the link to the whole PMS color chart to download in a .PDF form for reference.
Please note that all PMS colors can’t necessarily be printed on all promotional products and remember there will likely be a little difference in the color shade from one computer monitor to the next. For most screen printed items, there are predetermined stock PMS colors used which are already mixed and ready to use form printing. Mixing custom PMS colors is a premium service because it does take some time to do; therefore, there an additional PMS Match charge is often assessed to smaller orders.