Free Knowledge – What is Pantone (PMS)?

What is Pantone/PMS?

Pantone or PMS (Pantone Matching System) is a ‘solid colour’ matching system created in the 1950’s specifically for the Graphics Industry. The idea behind the PMS is to allow designers to “colour match” specific colours when a design enters production, regardless of the equipment used to produce the colour.

The system uses a number of inks which can be mixed according to a recipe book of colour swatches. These inks are physically mixed prior to going on a printing press, whereas, four colour process printing uses half-tone screen dots of CMYK colours to create the illusion of solid colours in the human eye. The Pantone system makes it easy to specify a colour using a unique reference number, and a very close match can be produced using the same recipe of standard inks.

A wider range of colours can be produced with this system that are more vibrant and vivid than can be produced using standard four colour process printing. Metallic and fluorescent inks are also available. However, care must be taken when selecting colours for company branding and logo design because many Pantone colours cannot be matched to CMYK process colours or RGB for display on a computer monitor.

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