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The Role of Color: PMS vs. CMYK

pantoneWhat is Pantone? As a client, you may hear your designers and printers refer to this magical word often. Pantone, or PMS (Pantone Matching System) refers to a standardized set of colors. This proprietary color space allows different printers and manufacturers from all over to refer to the same color system for color accuracy. In PMS, a single number specifies each color.

There are many benefits in choosing to print your designs using the Pantone system over CYMK format.  CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black. This system uses a certain percentage of each of these colors to make up your desired color.  Think back to 3rd grade art class… We all knew that if you mix a little bit of yellow with blue, you get green. Now, if your friend next to you tries to mix the exact same colors, are they going to turn out the same? Not exactly.

The biggest benefit you will receive from using the Pantone system is a consistent, reproducible color.

Case study:business-cards

This is a small example of some business cards we just finished for one of our clients.

The left side color is printed in PMS colors. The one on the right is the same color printed in CMYK. Notice the large difference in color?

Choose Wisely!


Interested in design topics?  Please comment to share ideas or questions and we’ll address them on the Voltage Blog.

A Graphic History of the Color Pink

The history fo the color pink.

Full Size Image ( 237KB GIF – 5000×800 )

No other color in modern history has carried such gravitas when it comes to associations with masculinity, femininity and politics. The color pink is a vessel for weighty subject material, indeed. Especially when you consider the fact that it has only been around in its proper form for less than 500 years. Who knows what the future for this light shade of red will hold, but this info graphic covers the last hundred years of politics and pop culture in all things pink.

This image is published by Voltage Creative under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License.