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The Pantone Matching System - what is it?

Posted by Ryan Tindall on

As Color Matters said..

"Color plays a vitally important role in the world in which we live. Color can sway thinking, change actions, and cause reactions and can even save on energy consumption.

As a powerful form of communication, color is irreplaceable!"


When you've been looking for colors and fabrics, you may have heard the phrase 'Pantone' mentioned , but what does this actually mean?

The Pantone Matching System is a standardised colour reproduction system. By doing this is allows manufacturers all over the world to to refer to the system to make sure the colours match without direct contact to one another. In total the Pantone system has 1,114 spot colours.

The colours are normally then referred to by using their unique reference number, E.g. PMS 122.

Since 2000, the Pantone Colour Institute declares a 'colour of the year'. This is decided in a secret meeting that is held in a European capital. The colour chosen connects with the Zeitgeist. After the colour of 2011 was chosen to be Honeysuckle, this statement was released “In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,”.

Who uses the Pantone Colour chart?

Around the world, just about everyone in the creative industry will come across and use the Pantone chart. Professions include and are not limited to designers, printers, manufacturers, marketers, and really anybody else who needs an accurate colour identification!

How can this help when I'm choosing fabrics?

When deciding what fabrics you want to use, knowing the Pantone colour can make the buying journey a whole lot easier. Not only is this because it's a world-wide known system, but also because if you won't have chance to see the fabrics beforehand, you know exactly what colour it will be by referring to the chart.

Alongside this, working in sync with the 'Pantone Colour of the year' can help as this not only will forecast what colour is going to be popular, but will also help you stay up to date and on trend!

You can find the online Pantone Colour chart here. If you have a physical Pantone Colour chart, its recommended that you change this every 12-18 months as the colours could fade and lose accuracy!