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PANTONE Numbering Systems Explained

A brief guide to Pantone color numbering.

Each PANTONE Color System uses a unique coding scheme. This key will help you find which System a particular PANTONE Color number or name is associated with.

Solid Color System - Pantone PLUS or PMS

PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM® coated, uncoated or matte
(examples: PANTONE 185 C, PANTONE Cool Gray 1 M)

PANTONE FORMULA GUIDES and SOLID CHIPS contain 1755 solid (spot) PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM Colors for printing ink on paper. The majority of these colors are referred to using a three- or four-digit number followed by a C, M or U. A small selection are named colors, such as the 14 base colors like PANTONE Reflex Blue C or PANTONE Orange 021 M.

The letter suffix refers to the paper stock on which it is printed: a "C" for coated or gloss paper, "U" for uncoated paper and an "M" for matte or dull paper.

Four–color process/CMYK

PANTONE CMYK guides coated, uncoated
(examples: PANTONE DS 1-4 C, PANTONE DE 250-1 U)

These guides offer a collection of over 3,000 CMYK color choices. The Process Color System is an independent system and color numbers bear no relationship to either the Goe or PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM.

PANTONE Process Color references start with either DS or DE followed by a one- to three-digit number, a dash, and a single digit number). The DE designation is used in the European version. The "C" suffix indicates coated stock and the "U" uncoated.

FASHION + HOME: TCX and TPX

(examples PANTONE 14–4510 TPX or Aquatic, PANTONE 15–1247 TC or Tangerine)

Color reference numbers in this system contain two digits followed by a dash and four digits with either a TPX or TC suffix. TPX indicates that that the reference was printed on paper, the TC indicates that it’s a dyed cotton reference. Each color also has an alpha name reference as a secondary identifier.

Process simulations of solid PANTONE Colors
COLOR BRIDGE® coated or uncoated (example: PANTONE 185 PC)
This guide provides side-by-side printed comparisons of solid PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM Colors and their closest four-color process equivalent. The process simulation is identified by using the solid color's name or number, followed by "PC" for coated, "UP" for uncoated or "EC" for Euro coated.

Plastics

(examples PANTONE Q270–2–4, PANTONE T925–5–5):

PANTONE Plastics Color references are denoted by a Q or a T followed by a three–digit number, a dash and two single digits separated by a dash. The Q and T signify opaque and transparent colors, respectively.

Older PANTONE Color Systems:

PANTONE Goe System coated or uncoated

(examples: PANTONE 105-5-3 C, PANTONE 31-4-6 U)
All Goe Colors found in the GoeGuides and GoeSticks are identified by a three-part hyphenated numbering system. The first number ranges from one to 165 indicating the color family it belongs to. The middle number will be from one to five, signifying the page within the color family. The last number ranges from one to seven and identifies a color's position on the page. The "C" suffix indicates coated stock and the "U" uncoated stock.

GoeBridge™ coated

(example: PANTONE 11-2-7 CP)
GoeBridge provides side-by-side comparisons of solid PANTONE Goe Colors and their closest four-color process equivalent. A "CP" suffix added to the color name indicates that it is a process simulation printed on coated stock.

HEXACHROME® coated (example: PANTONE 185 HC)
This guide provides printed simulations of PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM Colors using the six-color Hexachrome process (CMYKOG). The six-color process equivalent is referenced using its PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM name followed by "HC" for Hexachrome Coated.

PAINTS + INTERIORS

(examples PANTONE 14–4510 TPX or Aquatic, PANTONE 15–1247 TC or Tangerine):
Color reference numbers in this system contain two digits followed by a dash and four digits with either a TPX or TC suffix. TPX indicates that that the reference was printed on paper, the TC indicates that it’s a dyed cotton reference. Each color also has an alpha name reference as a secondary identifier.

 
   
 

 

/Colorstrology /PANTONE UNIVERSE
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