294 New Pantone Matching System® Colors –
Uses and Best Practices
THE RIGHT COLORS MATTER
Pantone introduces our most comprehensive color collection to date for graphics, print, and packaging design including more new colors formulated specifically to align and better match to the Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors (FHI) System.
What does this mean?
More market-demand, trend-relevant colors stemming from the FHI system, now for packaging and graphics
Better multi-material matches across categories
More creative inspiration, design, and communication opportunities
More high-demand neutrals: blacks, grays, beiges and tans, blues, and olives
More color nuances
Other features included in new printed publications:
New color pages added directly into relevant color sections
New color pages are marked with square symbols in the upper corners so they are easier to identify
Single index in the back of the guide
Lighting indicator tool on the last page
CHOOSING THE RIGHT COLOR SYSTEM
Pantone produces, validates, and organizes thousands of colors into two different systems:
Pantone Matching System (PMS) – Colors for ink on paper, used for printed packaging, products, branding, marketing, promotional materials and other collateral. These colors and their corresponding numbers and names can be found in our Formula Guide, Solid Chips, Metallics, and Pastels & Neons products.
Fashion, Home + Interiors (FHI) – Colors for non-printed hard and soft goods, such as textiles, coatings, and paints. The colors found in the FHI System are matched on dyed fabric, as well as produced as lacquer on paper, which is similar to paint. TPG is primarily used when comparing paints and hard goods, whereas TCX represents our colors on cotton fabric to be used for fashion and soft goods.
For quick reference, please see the simple comparison chart below:
PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM
FASHION, HOME + INTERIORS
Number of Colors
Printed or Screened Ink
Hard or Soft Goods (Everything that is not Printed or Screened Ink)
Base Ink Colors Only
Is Digital Data Available?
Screen Printing Only
Printers / Converters
Branding / Logos
Coatings and Paints
Because the appearance of a color can change based on the material on which it is produced, each system has been specifically developed to provide a comprehensive range of colors created for use on different material types. Choosing the right Pantone System ensures that the colors selected are achievable and reproducible on the specific materials being used.
For example: a color intended to be printed onto carton board would be best specified from the Pantone Matching System (PMS) for graphics and print, as these colors are designed to ensure the most expedient and accurate results when used on papers and packaging materials. If a textile color from Pantone’s Fashion, Home + Interiors (FHI) System were specified for printing on the same carton board, that color may not be possible to replicate without additional resources, cost, effort, and time. Similarly, a Pantone Color developed specifically for graphics and print may look completely different when attempted as dyed fabric – not all colors have a direct, corresponding color in the other system. Some colors may not be achievable on certain materials at all, even if the correct Pantone System is used for example, not all of our polyester colors can be achieved as vibrant or saturated when dyed in cotton. Due to metamerism, some PMS colors matched to TCX may appear different when comparing under D50 and D65 light sources.
Pantone knows designers and brands often create products involving multiple different materials, requiring specific colors to seamlessly match in all instances. For example, if a beverage company’s logo is red, then the expectation would be that the red would look the same as the logo on the printed packaging, on the digital website, on the cotton t-shirt, on the plastic toy, on the foam flip flops, on the metal can, on the glass, etc.
In these cases, you can reduce color development time and cost by choosing color from the Pantone System most relevant to the primary material, and then translating that color into another Pantone System to find the best match for the other materials used. For example, if you primary color exists primarily as a navy blue fabric, then you would start with the color from the FHI System and then cross reference it back to the closest matching color in PMS for the packaging.
This digital guide helps designers and brands working on projects involving multiple different materials find the closest matches between our two different color systems.
VISUALLY COMPARING COLORS BETWEEN SYSTEMS
When comparing physical colors between the PMS and FHI Systems, Pantone recommends the following:
Make sure your guides are recent (within 12-18 months old) to avoid pigment fading and page yellowing that can affect color legitimacy.
Understand that you may get different results if you compare the Coated PMS Guide colors to a matte textile or non-glossy hard or soft surface like the FHI Cotton swatches or TPG paper (paint) pages. Consider comparing both Uncoated and Coated PMS color versions to your FHI color when matching for final products without glossy surfaces.
In order to get the most accurate and reliable color evaluation and comparison results, always visually assess color in a light booth.
If your end result product will be a hard or soft good, then evaluate under D65 lighting.
If your end result product will be printed with ink, then evaluate under D50 lighting.
Review your guide pages inside the light booth at a 45° angle to reduce glare.
Make sure your light booth has the proper Munsell N5 or N7 interior color coating.
Never evaluate color with any visual influences in your light booth other than what you are reviewing.
Other Cross-Referencing Tools: For quick and easy color-matching references and data, check out our digital tools: