Understand packaging color, start with understanding PANTONE color card

Some friends will have questions about why I use the color of Pantone color card, and then I print out the color difference so big?

Before that, we will share the relevant knowledge of PANTONE color card, the content is for the reference of purchasing friends:



Introduction: Color matching system is a color communication system covering printing, textile, plastic, drawing, digital technology and other fields. It uniformly describes color in digital language and has become the standard language of international color. and ink manufacturing provides fast and convenient color schemes and color standards.

PANTONE color card color matching system, the official Chinese name is “PANTONE”. It is a world-renowned color communication system covering printing and other fields, and has become the de facto international color standard language. Customers of PANTONE Color Cards come from the fields of graphic design, textile furniture, color management, outdoor architecture and interior decoration. As a globally recognized and leading provider of color information, the Pantone Color Institute is also an important resource for the world’s most influential media.


The printing colors we usually see are determined by the following factors: substrate (paper, cloth, PVC, lamp cloth, etc.): material color, material type (material’s inking ability is different), material thickness (light transmittance) Environmental factors: air humidity will affect the humidity of materials, exposure to air will lead to fading, oxidation and yellowing… Types of printing presses: digital printers, inkjet printers, photo albums, offset printing machines, pad printing machines, Cylinder printing machine, etc. The colors that can be printed by different machines are very different, the colors that can be printed by old machines and new machines are different, the colors that can be printed by old and new nozzles are different, and the ink affinity of different resin plates and zinc plates is different… In short, this is very important and plays a decisive role. Different versions of color cards, different printing processes, different types of inks, different screen angles, different post-processing, etc. will lead to different colors


To be frank, Pantone needs to be printed (not a street laser printer, but a printing machine with millions of printing plants). I have been engaged in graphic design and printing for a long time. Let’s talk about Pantone briefly. (The picture is found on the Internet, please inform and delete it if infringement occurs.) PANTONE is actually the so-called “spot color” in the industry. PANTONE does not belong to RGB (screen color) or CMYK (four-color printing) color gamut, but is used to extend more colors available for printing (including metal color and fluorescent color). Why use PANTONE? There is no way to print special colors with CMYK’s four-color printing, such as the metal color and fluorescent color mentioned above. At this time, Pantone color needs to be used.


When the designer selects a designated color from the Pantone color card and hands it to the printing factory for printing, the printing factory needs to make the color of the product consistent with the designated color according to its own equipment and ink. Of course, the designer and the printing factory need to use the Pantone color card of the same year version, because the color of different versions and the same number will have slight differences.



This is Heidelberg Speed Baer four-color printing machine. The four silver columns of the machine are actually four monochrome printing parts, corresponding to printing one color. Usually, color printing is CMYK four-color overlay printing, and ordinary printing can be done with this machine.



This is more intuitive. This is the top of one of the columns. Yellow ink is added to the ink tank, corresponding to Y in CMYK. After the roller is stained with ink, it is transferred to the printing plate, and the printing plate is rolled and printed on the paper.


Ordinary printing presses can only print four colors at a time, which cannot meet high-end printing needs. High end printing presses can add 1-3 spot colors on the basis of 4 colors. In addition, they can apply UV bright oil while printing. Pantone also needs to use additional spot color ink, and each Pantone corresponds to a special ink. Tip: It is recommended not to use spot colors in multiple pages, large areas and high frequency. CMYK four-color printing can basically meet most purposes. For non packaging printed materials, spot color belongs to the embellishment of icing on the cake. The boss of a design company usually likes to use spot color to fool the local tyrant customers who don’t know much. Spot color, gilding and concavity and convex are all welcomed. It seems that they are very tall. He can fool more about the design and printing fees. Indeed, spot colors are widely used in special packaging, and a large number of packaging designs such as cigarette boxes, moon cake boxes and gift boxes use spot colors.


Meaning of Pantone Shades and Letters
The pantone color number is the color card made by Pantone of the United States from the ink that it can produce, and numbered according to the rules of pantone001 and pantone002. The color numbers we have come into contact with are generally composed of numbers and letters, such as: 105C pantone. It represents the effect of printing the color of pantone105 on glossy coated paper. C=Coated glossy coated paper.
The picture comes from Baidu pictures
We can generally judge the type of color number based on the letters after the numbers. C=glossy coated paper U=matte paper TPX=textile paper TC=cotton color card, etc.

The difference between printing with four-color ink CMYK and direct use
CMYK is overprinted with dots of up to four inks; with spot inks, it is printed flat (solid color printing with 100% dots) with one ink. Due to the above reasons, the former is obviously gray and not bright; the latter is bright and bright.
Because spot color printing is solid color printing and is specified as a real spot color, CMYK printing spot color can only be called: simulated spot color, obviously the same spot color: such as PANTONE 256 C, its hue must be different. of. Therefore, their standards are two standards, please refer to “Pantone Solid To Process Guide-Coated”. If the spot color is printed by CNYK, please refer to the analog version as the standard.

Coordination of “Spot Color Ink” Design and Printing
This question is mainly for print designers. Usually designers only consider whether the design itself is perfect, and ignore whether the printing process can achieve the perfection of your work. The design process has little or no communication with the printing house, making your work less colorful. Similarly, the spot color ink may be considered less or not at all. Give an example to illustrate this kind of problem, and everyone can understand its intention. For example: Designer A designed a poster poster, using PANTONE spot color: PANTONE356, part of which is standard spot color printing, that is, solid (100% dot) printing, and the other part needs hanging screen printing, which is 90% dot. All printed with PANTONE356. During the printing process, if the solid spot color part meets the standard required by the PANTONE spot color guideline, the hanging screen part will be “pasted”. On the contrary, if the ink amount is reduced, the hanging screen part is suitable, and the solid color part of the spot color will be lighter. Spot Color Guide Standard to PANTONE356.

Therefore, designers must consider or should know the blind spots of spot color ink solid printing and hanging screen printing in the design process, and avoid blind spots to design the value of hanging screen. Please refer to: Pantone Tims-Coated/Uncoated guide, the net value should conform to the PANTONE net value standard (.pdf). Or based on your experience, those values ​​​​can be linked to those that cannot. Maybe you will ask whether the performance of the printing machine is not good, or the operator’s technology is not good, or the operation method is wrong, which requires communication with the printing factory in advance to understand the highest performance of the printing machine, the level of the operator, etc. Wait. One principle: let your work be perfectly realized through printing, try to avoid the craftsmanship that cannot be realized by printing, so as to realize your creativity perfectly. The above examples are not necessarily particularly appropriate, but just want to illustrate that designers should consider the use of spot color inks and communication with printers when designing.

The difference and connection with modern ink color matching technology
Similarities: Both are computer color matching

Difference: The modern ink color matching technology is the ink formula of the known color sample to find the color sample; the PANTONE standard color matching is the known ink formula to find the color sample. Q: If using modern ink color matching technology to find the PANTONE standard formula is more accurate than the PANTONE standard color matching method, the answer is: there is already a PANTONE standard formula, why go for another formula, it is definitely not as accurate as the original formula.

Another difference: Modern ink color matching technology can match any spot color, PANTONE standard color matching is limited to PANTONE standard spot color. The use of modern color matching techniques with PANTONE spot colors is not recommended.

Benefits of Using Pantone Color Charts
Simple color expression and delivery
Customers from anywhere in the world, as long as they specify a PANTONE color number, we only need to check the corresponding PANTONE color card to find the color sample of the desired color, and make products according to the color required by the customer.

Ensure consistent hues every print
Whether it is printed multiple times in the same printing house or the same spot color is printed in different printing houses, it can be consistent and will not be cast.

Great choice
There are more than 1000 kinds of spot colors, which can give designers enough choice. In fact, the spot colors that designers usually use only account for a small part of the PANTONE color card.

No need for the printing house to color-match
You can save the trouble of color matching.

Pure hue, pleasing, vivid, saturated
All the color samples of the PANTONE Color Matching System are uniformly printed by our own factory at the PANTONE headquarters in Carlstadt, New Jersey, USA, which guarantees that the PANTONE color samples distributed around the world are exactly the same.

The PANTONE Color Matching System is an essential tool in international trade. PANTONE spot color formula guide, PANTONE standard color card coated/uncoated paper (PANTONE Eformula coated/uncoated) are the core of PANTONE color matching system.


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