Getting Technical - PMS Color Matching

Thursday, September 9, 2021


When people think of McDonald's, they picture the golden yellow arches.  Coca-Cola also distinguishes itself with its bright red background and crisp white lettering.  These are just a few of the many examples of how your brand's color palette is just as important as the logo itself. Pantone Matching System (PMS) is the industry leading way of ensuring your colors are accurately represented, each and every time it's used.

How PMS Colors Work 

Created in 1963, the Pantone Matching System is primarily used for print and textile production.  The system involves very specific formulas that mixes inks to provide a broad spectrum of colors. Each color is assigned a universal code used by printing companies and graphic designers (ie. Dark orange is 172 C).  This code gives us the exact specifications and instructions of how to mix the ink and print your logo. Below is an example of how this matching process works.

Choosing The Right Color

Studies show that choosing the right color can increase the brand's recognition by up to 87%.  Businesses need to choose the colors that best represent their brand's image.  For example, red is seen as a bold and exciting color and often used in restaurants such as Pizza Hut and KFC.  Green represents nature or profitability and is sometimes used in the banking and finance industries.  

How To Find The Exact Color 

Most of the time companies can reference their brand guidelines for specific Pantone call outs. Graphic designers are often very intentional about referencing colors. If you have questions, start internally and see what you can discover. Our art department can also assist with PMS Color matching using our color converters and tools. For those that haven't decided on a color yet, they can go to Pantone's website and use the Pantone Color Finder to look at the 9,758 colors.  The Pantone Connect platform can be downloaded to mobile devices for easy access to the PMS color library. 

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