Pantone Matching System Swatch Book

Pantone Matching System

The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is an internationally recognised system for specifying colours. By standardising colours it is possible to keep colours consistent by different printers or manufacturers across all continents.

The Pantone Matching System was devised to meet the needs of graphic designers who want to use a solid spot or special colour in their designs. If a print job only requires one or two colours, for example, when printing business stationery, then it would be more economical to use two inks instead of the four colours used in process printing; cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

The system uses a small 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, process printing uses half-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 number, and a very close match can be produced across the world 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 what 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. A logo designer should choose Pantone inks from the 'color bridge' swatch book with a close match to a process colour to ensure consistency across all printed material.