Colour matching… The Pantone system

When you’re creating the design for your custom packaging, it’s very likely you’ll come across the term ‘pantone reference’.

What is it?

The Pantone system is the universal language of colour; a standardised colour matching system for identifying colours. By standardising the colours, different manufacturers in different locations can all reference a Pantone numbered colour to ensure your products match in colour, as well as possible, without ever being physically next to each other.

There are two types of Pantone reference. Uncoated (U) and Coated (C).  One of these letters will appear after the number which denotes the colour to indicate what substrate the ink is suitable for (e.g. 032C or 032U).

The uncoated versions are for use on uncoated paper (e.g. standard white and brown kraft or white or brown test papers) and are commonly used for standard corrugated products.  Their formula accounts for the way in which the ink will sink into the paper.

A coated formula is for use on coated materials (e.g. film) and will appear brighter and denser in colour as the ink sits on the substrate rather than soaking into it.

Guidelines for colour matching;

Do not match to something you have printed off your computer.  Your printer uses CYMK colours to recreate the colours in your document and the colour will look different from printer to printer.

Do not match to a colour on your computer screen.  Everyone’s screen settings are different and will affect how the colours appear.

Whilst the Pantone system is designed to standardise colours across substrates, sometimes the different physical properties of a materials cannot be overcome and you should expect some degree of tolerance

Try and perform colour matches in soft, natural light.  Bright sunlight or bright artificial light can affect how you see the colours.

Having recently gone through a re-brand we understand exactly how much time and thought goes into creating and refining designs. If you’d like a chat about your artwork, please get in touch using [email protected] and one the team will be happy to assist.