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How Pantone Colours Work

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How Pantone Colours Work

How Pantone Numbers Work

Each Pantone Matching System colour uses a unique coding scheme. This article will help you find which system and Pantone Colour number or name it is associated with:

Graphics and Multimedia

 

Pantone Matching System® Coated or Uncoated

(Examples: PANTONE 185 C, PANTONE Cool Gray 1 U)

Pantone Formula Guides and Solid Chips contain 1,867 solid Pantone Matching System Colours for printing ink on paper. Most of these colours are referred to using a three- or four-digit number followed by a C or U. There are also a small number of named colours, such as the 18 base colours like PANTONE Reflex Blue C or PANTONE Orange 021 U.

The letter suffix refers to the paper stock on which it is printed: a "C" for coated or gloss paper or a "U" for uncoated paper.

Pantone Speciality Solid Colours

Pantone Metallics

(Examples: PANTONE 877 C, PANTONE 8244 C)

Pantone Metallics Colours are referenced using either a three- or four-digit number that begins with “8”, followed by a “C” to indicate a coated paper stock. There is no uncoated version of Pantone Metallics Colours.

Pantone Premium Metallics

(Example: PANTONE 10286 C)

Pantone Premium Metallics Colours are referenced using a five-digit number that begins with “10”, followed by a “C” to indicate coated paper stock. There is no uncoated version of Pantone Premium Metallics Colours.

Pantone Pastels & Neons

(Examples: PANTONE 915 U, PANTONE Yellow 0131 C)

Pantone Pastels & Neons Colours are referenced using either a three- or four-digit number beginning with “9”. There are two exceptions: The neon base colours, which are three-digit numbers beginning with “8”, and the pastel base colours, which are named with a descriptive colour name, followed by a four-digit number that begins with “0”. Each colour has a suffix that indicates the type of paper stock on which it is printed: a "C" for coated or gloss paper or a "U" for uncoated paper.

CMYK & Four–Colour Process

Pantone CMYK & 4–Colour Process Guides Coated or Uncoated

(Examples: PANTONE P 11-4 C, PANTONE P 69-15 U).

These guides offer an independent collection of nearly 3,000 CMYK colours that bear no relationship to the Pantone Matching System.

Pantone Process Colour numbers start with the letter P followed by a one- to three-digit number, a dash, and a one- to two-digit number. The "C" suffix indicates coated stock and the "U" uncoated.

Process Simulations of Solid Pantone Colours

Pantone Colour Bridge Coated or Uncoated

(Example: PANTONE 185 CP, PANTONE 425 UP)

This guide provides side-by-side printed comparisons of solid Pantone Matching System Colours and their closest four-colour process equivalent. The process simulation is identified by using the solid colour's name or number, followed by "CP" for coated or "UP" for uncoated.

Pantone Extended Gamut Coated Guide

(Examples: PANTONE 7662 XGC, PANTONE 347 XGC)

The Pantone Extended Gamut Coated guide contains 1,729 seven-colour simulations of the solid Pantone Matching System Colours printed on coated stock. Most of these colours are referred to using a three- or four-digit number followed by an XGC. There are also a small number of named colours, such as the seven base colours like PANTONE Process Magenta C or PANTONE XG Orange C.

The letter suffix refers to the type of process: “XG” for Extended Gamut and a "C" for the coated or gloss paper on which it is printed.

Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors

Fashion, Home + Interiors Paper, Cotton, and Nylon Guides and Standards

(Examples PANTONE 14–4510 TPX or Aquatic, PANTONE 15–1247 TCX or Tangerine)

Colour reference numbers in this system contain two digits followed by a dash and four digits with either a TPX or TC suffix. TPX indicates that that the reference was printed on paper, the TC indicates that it’s a dyed cotton reference. Each colour also has an alpha name reference as a secondary identifier. Now in eco-friendly formulations indicated by TPG colour suffix. This new edition of the Colour Guide presents the existing 2,310 Fashion, Home + Interiors Colours created from new, more Earth-friendly formulations and an accompanying new Pantone Colour Number suffix, TPG (Textile Paper – “Green”).

Pantone Plastics

Pantone Plastics Selector Chips

(Examples PANTONE Q270–2–4, PANTONE T925–5–5)

Pantone Plastics Selector colour references are denoted by a Q or a T followed by a three–digit number, a dash and two single digits separated by a dash. The Q and T signify opaque and transparent colours, respectively.

Pantone Plastic Standard Chips (large plastic chips)

(Examples PANTONE PQ-185C, PQ-19-4007TCX)

Pantone Plastic Standard Chips are matched to the colours in the Pantone Matching System or Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors Colour System. The chips have two levels of thickness are made using Polypropylene resin.

Pantone Plastic Standard Chips colour references matched to the Pantone Matching System are denoted by a PQ followed by a dash and the three- or four-digit colour number (corresponding to the Pantone Matching System) plus a “C”. PANTONE Plastic Standard Chips colour references matched to the Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors Colour System are denoted by a PQ followed by a dash, two digits, a second dash, and the final four digits of the matched Fashion, Home + Interiors plus the TCX suffix.

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  • Clive Harper