What is a Pantone Color?

Understanding Pantone colors can help you have an educated opinion on how this can affect your business.

With e-commerce booming in 2020 from the unfortunate effects of the pandemic you may be asking yourself how can you get in on this action. Online t-shirts, promo merchandise for a new brand, or work from home care kits can help promote your message and core values – and color is at the center of all these possibilities. You may have already created a line of incredible t-shirt designs, new company uniforms, or are just trying to figure out where to start. At Morningstar Screen Printing we think the best place to start is with color. We are such a visual society that color becomes an incredible part of the conversation. So let’s talk about one of the most valued color systems in the world, Pantone. If you are not familiar with the color innovating company Pantone, its’ website states, 

“In 1963, [it] revolutionized the printing industry with the colorful PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM®, an innovative tool allowing for the faithful selection, articulation and reproduction of consistent, accurate color anywhere in the world. The tool organizes color standards through a proprietary numbering system and chip format, which have since become iconic to the Pantone brand.”

Pantone, About Pantone

So you may be asking yourself a few questions…

  • What is pantone?
  • What is it used for?
  • How does it effect me?

Well, we’re glad you asked! Understanding these questions can help you have an educated opinion on how this can affect your business.

What is Pantone?

Pantone or the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM® aka Pantone book, “[…] provides a universal language of color that enables color-critical decisions through every stage of the workflow for brands and manufacturers” (Pantone, About Pantone). That means by using a pantone book you can speak the universal language to articulate your color needs and maintain your brand identity via color for consistent messaging to your audience. Plainly if you love a bright fiery red on your employees company uniforms then take a look at Pantone 186 C and request this ink or thread color on your next order.

What is Pantone Used For?

In the apparel industry and at Morningstar Screen Printing, it is primarily used for describing the color of ink, apparel or garments, embroidery thread and heat transfer vinyl colors. Most of our supply vendors use a PMS color to describe their products but it is not always available so ask your daymaker for info. Morningstar Screen Printing does offer a standard color chart that shows you our stock inks and threads by PMS color. You can request it via e-mail or stop by our shop to view the colors in person.

How does it affect me?

Well maybe all this time spent at home has inspired you to start an apparel company or maybe your construction company uses a particular royal blue for your uniforms. In both situations, we recommend speaking about color using the PMS system. This is the most concise way to describe color. We have PMS books inside our office to see the color-calibrated colors in person so you can choose what you like for your next order.

One important note to make is that not all decorating options offer exact PMS matches. Visually in person colors can take on a slightly different appearance depending on the color of the garment the ink is being printed on. In addition, embroidery thread can have a sheen and can appear lighter in color in different lighting. The lighting in the room whether tungsten, fluorescent or LED can cast different temperatures of colors changing the decorations appearance. We recommend viewing color under a 5600 kelvin daylight bulb.

For screen printed plastisol printing we offer Pantone matches. They require an additional fee and a special mix of ink calibrated to the color and type of garment. If you more than one different style, color, or material of garment in your run we do not recommend Pantone matches unless each style, color and material of garment is a separate order. We choose to use the Pantone Matching System as a guide to talk about color. So don’t get to held up on the technicalities of color and just find something you love!

So in closing, Pantone is a color guide used across the world, it’s used to speak concisely and accurately about color, and can help you get the colors you love and the custom apparel you are looking for

Up Next: Pantone’s 2021 colors of the year

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