Everything You Need to Know About Pantone

“The accuracy of color is critical in design. Because what you see on your monitor is never what will appear on a printed sheet, designers need a standardized color key.”

That quote, which is taken from this article, is one that all designers and apparel manufacturers should take to heart.

In recent years, Pantone has become more and more visible because of its introduction of their Color of the Year pick. When speaking about picking a color, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute Leatrice Eiseman said:

“I look for ascending color trends, colors that are being used in broader ways and broader context than before.”

However, what some people don’t know is that Pantone is actually a huge driving force in the manufacturing industry. It is so much of a force that it is actually nearly standardized in the industry.

The Pantone Color Matching System is a color reproduction system that had essentially standardized color. This allows manufacturers that are working on the same project ensure that the colors are consistent throughout. This also helps designers for when they have to start another order of an item, but with a different factory.

This is done by using spot colors instead of the CMYK process.

pantone color system

The CMYK printing process uses four inks: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. However, instead of creating the true color, CMYK uses the four colors to simulate the one you want by angling different tiny dots with that color at different angles and sizes and layering each of the four colors on top of each other.

Pantone on the other hand uses pre-mixed formulas using a 14-color palette that is able to accurately replicate the true color. In layman’s terms, CMYK mixes colors and Pantone simply creates them.

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The Pantone Color Matching System has become so prevalent that some countries have even introduced and passed legislation that requires the colors used in their flags to be a specific Pantone Color. Some examples include Canada, South Korea, and Scotland. Even Texas has a law that required that their flag colors be printed Pantone Color 193 and 281.

Pantone isn’t the only option available for standardized color, however it is the most widely used. Some CMYK colors can also be created with the Pantone system.

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