What are PMS Colors and When Should You Use Them?

What are PMS Colors and When Should You Use Them?

PMS stands for Pantone Matching System. Pantone standardizes the colors and publishes swatches into books so anyone can have the precise and accurate color on their art.


What is Pantone Matching System?


Pantone is able to do this by creating custom mixed inks. This method of mixing colors also includes metallics, fluorescent, and pastels that you cannot create with CMYK.


  • The Pantone Matching System is a universally recognized matching system.
  • When you provide a printer a PMS color, you know you're going to get that color. The CMYK system can have slight variations on different printers.


  • Adding PMS colors to a CMYK print job increases the cost. Printing in PMS can get pricey because printers charge based on the total inks used, and pantone blends colors together to get you the perfect color.
  • PMS doesn’t have every color possible.
  • In some printing plants, adding PMS will necessitate more than one pass through one or more presses, increasing chances of errors and misregistration.
  • The printer often has to create, and store, an ink specific to your project (which can be expensive).

Companies like Mattel for their Barbie Pink, Target’s Red, and Tiffany & Co’s Blue have all trademarked their Pantone colors, to enhance and protect their brand.

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