At Steel City Marketing, we often get asked the question ‘what is a pantone number?’ Normally people are aware of the socks and mugs that can be found in various big department stores and not much more. However, a pantone is actually a very useful way to ensure that your colour specifications are exactly matched when we print your logo. A pantone number is part of Pantone Inc.’s Pantone Matching System (PMS). This is recognised internationally as the reference for selecting, matching and monitoring ink colours. The PMS contains 1114 different shades which can be selected with either a coated, uncoated or matte finish. These colours are created using 13 base pigments (and white and black) which are mixed together in varying amounts.

Finding the perfect Pantone

This system is particularly beneficial to companies who want to maintain a consistent brand image. If you imagine Coca Cola you are certain to visualize their bright vibrant red. Choosing a pantone to reflect your brand can be a difficult decision. We always recommend that clients create a mood wheel and consider what connotations different colours convey. What does your company represent and which colour shows this best? When you have chosen a colour we will then help you decide which Pantone shade you should choose. Each Pantone is numbered, for example, a popular shade of red is PMS185. This ensures that any future items will be printed with an identical shade.

What you need to be aware of when Pantone matching

The reason the PMS comes with three different finishes is because printing to different surfaces can affect the purity of the shade. This is particularly applicable if you are choosing a variety of promotional items. For your plastic items you need to be looking at the coated Pantones and for paper products you will need to choose uncoated. So if you are unsure which finish is correct for your promotional gift; check with us first!

In addition to pantone matching your print we also have a selection of items which we can pantone match the product colour too. Further information about Pantones can be found on their official website, which is worth a look for the design geek in anyone. Each year they announce a colour of the year which is chosen to reflect the zeitgeist. Emerald has been chosen for 2013 which they describe as “Lively, Radiant, Lush… A colour of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.” So let us hope that this means it might be a more calm and tranquil year than 2012!