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Understanding Colors

In order to achieve accuracy in color, you need to first identify the medium in which you will be viewing the color.

  • Monitors display color in RGB (Red, Green, Blue).
  • Office and commercial digital printers typically print using four colors, Cyan Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK)
  • Color precision is achieved by commercial printers by using SPOT (SOLID) colors also referred to as Pantones.


What is Pantone?

Pantone is a standardized color matching system, utilizing the Pantone numbering system for identifying colors. By standardizing the colors, different manufacturers in different locations can all reference a Pantone numbered color, making sure colors match without direct contact with one another. The most commonly referenced colors are in the Pantone solids palette. The Pantone Solid palette consists of 1,114 colors, identified by three or four digit numbers, followed by a C, U, Or M suffix.. Originally designed for the graphics industry, the pantone solids palette is now used by a wide range of industries, and is the most commonly used palette. For example, Pantone 199 Red can be identified as Pantone 199C (C= Coated Paper), Pantone 199U (U= Uncoated Paper) or Pantone 199M (M=Matte Paper).

Download our reference PDF to help you choose possible colors for your next project.


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