How to Choose the Right Pantone Color for Printing

How to Choose the Right Pantone Color for Printing - pantone color swatches

How to Choose the Right Pantone Color for Printing

Pantone colors help ensure that the colors in your printed design turn out the same as the colors on your screen. However, many factors can affect the color of your finished product, even after choosing a Pantone color. At Mousegraphics, we want to ensure that your project turns out exactly how you envisioned it, so we put together this guide on how to choose the right Pantone color for printing. 

How to Choose the Right Pantone Color for Your Print Project

1: Update Your Pantone Books

If you frequently print on various types of materials, it’s a good idea to have your own Pantone books. Pantone offers a wide selection of books that show how the Pantone colors will look on different types of paper, canvas, vinyl, etc. 

When you determine which Pantone color to use in Illustrator or Photoshop, you should check that the color swatch looks the same in your Pantone book. The color will appear slightly different in the book than on the screen. 

If you have Pantone books that are over 18 months old, it’s important to get the updated version before you start a new project. The colors in Pantone books are subject to fading over time, which can lead to frustrating miscommunications and costly redesigns. 

Pantone also frequently releases new color collections, so you could also be missing out on exciting new color options if you rely on an older guide. Because Pantone releases new collections based on trend forecasting, investing in a new Pantone guide will also help keep your designs relevant. 

2: Know Your Print Materials

Different formulas are required for reproducing the same color on different materials. So, if you print a coated Pantone color on uncoated paper, there will be a slight difference in tone. 

This is where the importance of Pantone books comes in again—it’s essential that you choose the right Pantone color guide books for the specific materials you plan to use. Before you select your color, make sure you’re looking at a coated or uncoated book of Pantone color swatches, depending on your needs. 

3: Know Your Print Shop’s Capabilities

When designing your project, it’s also important to select a print shop ahead of time so you can understand their printing and color matching capabilities. 

For instance, to ensure a perfect product from Mousegraphics using Pantone colors, we recommend choosing a Pantone spot color, not the CMYK equivalent. We can match the color in your digital design more closely from the spot swatch rather than the offset printing CMYK swatch when printing. As long as you don’t modify the name of the spot color, our software can easily find the name of the color to match.

How Do You Know Which Pantone Book You Need?

Knowing which Pantone color book to choose will depend on your print project needs. For example, if your project will be printed on paper, then you’ll need to look for the Pantone Matching System (PMS) range of books. 

Once you know which materials you plan to use for your project, you can then choose from regular coated or uncoated color bridge guides to ensure that your screen color matches the print color as closely as possible. There are also specialty guides for pastel, neon, and metallic colors in coated and uncoated options. 

Pantone also offers a Fashion, Home & Interior (FHI) range of color-matching books intended for printing on clothing and a wide range of other materials. PMS is the best color system for graphics, while FHI is best for textiles, coatings, and pigments. 

Printing Pantone Colors in Tempe

If you’re working on a project using Pantone colors, send your finished design to Mousegraphics for printing. We’ve been providing high quality print services in Arizona for over thirty years. 

If you’re not sure how your chosen colors will print, we can produce a reduced-size test print or full-size test strip of your design so you can see how it will turn out. Call us at (480) 470-7438 to discuss your project today. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (8/24/2022). Photo by Taylor Heery on Unsplash