PANTONE Numbering Explained
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:
PANTONE Plus Series for Graphics and Multimedia
PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM® Coated or Uncoated
(examples: PANTONE 185 C, PANTONE Cool Gray 1 U)
PANTONE FORMULA GUIDES and SOLID CHIPS contain 1,755 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 or U. There are also a small number of named colors, such as the 18 base colors like PANTONE Reflex Blue C or PANTONE Orange 021 U.
The letter suffix refers to the paper stock on which it is printed: a "C" for coated or gloss paper or a "U" for uncoated paper.
PANTONE Specialty Solid Colors
(examples: PANTONE 877 C, PANTONE 8244 C)
PANTONE METALLICS Colors are referenced using either a three- or four-digit number that begins with “8”, followed by a “C” to indicate a coated paper stock. There is no uncoated version of PANTONE METALLICS Colors.
PANTONE PREMIUM METALLICS
(example: PANTONE 10286 C)
PANTONE PREMIUM METALLICS Colors are referenced using a five-digit number that begins with “10”, followed by a “C” to indicate coated paper stock. There is no uncoated version of PANTONE PREMIUM METALLIC Colors.
PANTONE PASTELS & NEONS
(examples: PANTONE 915 U, PANTONE Yellow 0131 C)
PANTONE PASTELS & NEONS Colors are referenced using either a three- or four-digit number beginning with “9”. There are two exceptions: The neon base colors, which are three-digit numbers beginning with “8”, and the pastel base colors, which are named with a descriptive color name, followed by a four-digit number that begins with “0”. Each color has a suffix that indicates the type of paper stock on which it is printed: a "C" for coated or gloss paper or a "U" for uncoated paper.
CMYK / Four–color process
PANTONE CMYK / 4–COLOR PROCESS guides Coated, Uncoated
(examples: PANTONE P 11-4 C, PANTONE P 69-15 U).
These guides offer an independent collection of nearly 3,000 CMYK colors that bear no relationship to the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM.
PANTONE Process Color numbers start with the letter P followed by a one- to three-digit number, a dash, and a one- to two-digit number. The "C" suffix indicates coated stock and the "U" uncoated.
Process simulations of Solid PANTONE Colors
PANTONE COLOR BRIDGE® Coated or Uncoated
(example: PANTONE 185 CP, PANTONE 425 UP)
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 "CP" for coated or "UP" for uncoated.
FASHION, HOME + INTERIORS
(examples PANTONE 14–4510 TPX or Aquatic, PANTONE 15–1247 TCX or Tangerine):
Color reference numbers in this system contain two digits followed by a dash and four digits with either a TPX or TCX suffix. TPX indicates that that the reference was produced on paper, the TCX indicates that it’s a dyed cotton reference. Each color also has a descriptive name reference as a secondary identifier.
PANTONE PLASTICS Selector Chips
(examples PANTONE Q270–2–4, PANTONE T925–5–5):
PANTONE PLASTICS Selector 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.
PANTONE Plastic Standard Chips (large plastic chips)
(examples PANTONE PQ-185C, PQ-19-4007TCX):
PANTONE Plastic Standard Chips are matched to the colors in the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM or PANTONE FASHION, HOME + INTERIORS Color System. The chips have two levels of thickness are made using Polypropylene resin.
PANTONE Plastic Standard Chips color references matched to the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM are denoted by a PQ followed by a dash and the three- or four-digit color number (corresponding to the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM) plus a “C”. PANTONE Plastic Standard Chips color references matched to the PANTONE FASHION, HOME + INTERIORS Color System are denoted by a PQ followed by a dash, two digits, a second dash, and the final four digits of the matched FASHION, HOME AND INTERIORS plus the TCX suffix.