Graphics - Facts About Pantone Graphics Metallic Ink and Coatings

Facts About Pantone Graphics Metallic Ink and Coatings

Facts About Pantone Graphics Metallic Ink and Coatings Facts About Pantone Graphics Metallic Ink and Coatings

What is a Spot Color?

A spot (or solid) color is a pure color based on a specific printing ink or an achievable ink formula. These formulas provide starting points that can help you consistently and precisely print color as intended.

How are Metallic spot colors different than spot colors in the Pantone Formula Guide?

Metallic spot colors are made from Pantone Base inks and can easily be replicated in printing. The Pantone Formula Guide contains seven metallic base inks for Commercial Graphics. The new Pantone Metallic publications contain 655 metallic colors, the same seven base inks, plus two additional specifically suited for printing packaging.

How are the base inks in the Formula Guide different from the base ink in the Metallics guide?

The difference between the base inks in the Metallics Guide versus those in Formula Guide is the addition of two inks specially formulated for packaging printing. These unique base inks are Pantone Silver 10077 C and Pantone Rose Gold 10412 C. They can be found within the pages of the “Packaging Metallics” section of the guide.

Why are some of the base inks in the Packaging Metallics different than those in Formula Guide?

Some of the base inks used for formulating our Packaging Metallics colors came from a previous Pantone Product called GOE. These colors all exist in Formula Guide but under different names. For product consistency, we have not yet updated these color names but will do so soon. Below are the base ink translations from the GOE colors to current:

  • Bright Orange = Orange 21
  • Medium Yellow = Yellow 012
  • Neutral Black = Black
  • Strong Red = Rubine Red

What is the difference between Packaging Metallics and Commercial Graphics Metallics?

The Pantone Metallic Guide and Chips Book have been divided into two segments of colors: Packaging Metallics and Commercial Graphics Metallics. It is important to understand their best use cases and for what type of projects they should be considered:

Packaging Metallics (Previously referred to as “Premium Metallics”)

Packaging Metallic colors are intended to be used for packaging and signage projects. These colors have been created using base inks Pantone Silver 10077 C and Pantone Rose Gold 10412 C.

These special base inks are formulated with pigments that best allow for ease in coating. This seals down printed graphic application and provides the essential protection required for most packaging projects.

In addition, Packaging Metallics Colors are formulated to have:

  • Better printing results
  • Greater brilliance
  • Higher luster
  • More durability
  • Less leafing and tarnishing over time

Inks used to achieve these colors are slightly more expensive, but they also accept a wide range of aqueous and UV coatings, which present a more commanding on-shelf presence for packaging.

Commercial Graphics Metallics (Previously referred to as “Metallics”)

Use Commercial Graphics Metallic colors for non-packaging projects such as retail products, marketing and sales materials, publishing, and collateral.

When would I use a Packaging Metallics Color versus a Commercial Graphics Metallics Color?

Packaging Metallic Colors are optimally used for packaging and signage projects due to their special base ink formulation, which allows them to be easily coated. Their base ink composition also provides colors with high brilliance, luster, durability, and tarnish resistance.

Commercial Graphics Metallic Colors should be used for any other types of projects that don’t require the same durability or exposure as consumer packaging, such as marketing and sales materials, publishing, stationery, print advertising, publishing, and other promotional materials.

Are there any cost differences between Packaging and Commercial Graphics Metallics?

The formulations of our Packaging Metallics Colors are created using Pantone Silver 10077 C and Rose Gold 10412 C base inks, which allow for greater brilliance and are easier to print and coat with a wide range of aqueous and UV coatings without loss of luster. As Silver 10077 C and Rose Gold 10412 C are premium base inks, their production assumes a cost slightly higher than that of our Commercial Graphics Metallics base inks. However, the amount of cost applied to projects using these base inks over others may be almost negligible when factoring in quantities, printing types, coatings, and other variables relative to the specific project details.

Are there any visual differences between Packaging and Commercial Graphics Metallics?

The color formulations of the Packaging and Commercial Graphics Metallics are created using different base ink colors and chemistry. Therefore, although some similarities can be found, colors in the different sections are all unique.

In addition, Packaging Metallic colors are formulated using Silver 10077 C and Rose Gold 10412 C base inks and, therefore, may look “brighter” as they have more noticeable brilliance, vibrancy, and luster over the Commercial Graphics Metallics.

Why would I use a Metallic Ink instead of a foil?

There are several reasons to use metallic inks over foil stamping:

  • Ink gives you range and flexibility to print fine screen values, as well as full, stunning spot colors.
  • With Metallic Inks your color options are numerous! Pantone now provides over 650 trend driven and market relevant metallic colors for packaging and commercial print projects.
  • With its in-line capability, metallic inks are notably less expensive than using foil stamping or metallized substrates – even when adding specialty coatings. Inks can be ideal and affordable, especially for lower-piece-quantity runs.
  • Foil stamping and metallized board can produce landfill waste and complications when recycling discarded packaging. Metallic ink printing, however, creates no waste in the recycling process.

What can I do to make my metallic inks more intense and shiny?

Special effects coatings are easy and often economical to add onto metallic inks to give them additional flash, shine, and sparkle – especially since most printers can add coatings in-line. For example, the Specialty Coating demonstrated in the Pantone Metallic Coated Guide and Chip Book contains Pearlescent Effect Pigments from ECKART added to a UV gloss and flexo printed. Contact your printer or ink supplier to request this or other possible coatings for similar results to help accentuate your metallic printing appearance.

When should I update my Metallic Guide and Chips Book?

Most metallic printing has an estimated 12-month shelf life. PH imbalances between the base ink and the metallic accelerates color instability. Pantone recommends replacing our products every 12-18 months, as handling, light, and aging will render colors inaccurate.

New Pantone Metallics vs. Previous Offering

What is the difference between Premium and Packaging Metallics?

Pantone Packaging Metallics were previously called Premium Metallics. To help users better understand which colors are specifically formulated to be coated for packaging, we re-named them “Packaging Metallics”.

What happened to your Premium Metallics?

Pantone “Premium” Metallics have only changed in naming classification. The same 300 colors are included in the Packaging Metallics section of our latest Metallics Guide and Chips Books and now feature an additional 54 newly-introduced colors.

What happened to “The Plus Series” on the product covers?

In our efforts to streamline product messaging and clarify use case, Pantone has removed “The Plus Series” from the front of our Metallics Guide and Chips Book, as our continued feedback from users validated its irrelevance and confusion.

Communicating & Measuring Metallic Inks

How should I ask my printer for a Metallic Ink?

Pantone Metallic Inks are fast and easy to use. To access bold and striking metallic effects for your next project, simply specify Pantone Metallic ink colors directly into your design files and ask your printer to refer to guide pages or Pantone Paper Chips for visual comparisons and approvals.

How do you measure metallic inks?

Currently, all the Pantone Metallics colors are measured with a 45/0 instrument, to provide placeholder values for on-screen graphic arts applications. The data published is captured under M2 mode (UV excluded). None of the data of Pantone Metallics is intended to be used in production for quality control or formulation.

Why would you capture data from both an X-Rite eXact (or handheld) and a benchtop sphere spectrophotometer?

The decision taken to use a 0/45 instrument for the capture of the data was based upon the need to give a good onscreen representation. A sphere instrument captures and integrates the light reflected from all directions. When rendered in an onscreen application this leads to the color appearance being “flatter” and more “washed out” than the actual appearance. A 0-45 instrument does not capture all the data but does provide a better on-screen correlation to physical samples.

Why didn’t you use a multi-angle device to measure your metallics?

While a multi-angle device is an amazing resource for data collection and analysis, it requires significantly more complex software to interpret the data, which is normally outside the scope of most of the sectors using Pantone. In addition, it requires a much higher investment and, as the smallest aperture is around 1”, it is not optimally recommended to work well with Pantone small-sized guide and chip book swatches, or many of the other materials with which Pantone users work.

Why didn’t you use a densitometer to measure your metallics?

Density is really a term that describes the film weight of an ink layer and densitometers never capture color information. All of Pantone’s materials use spectrophotometry when measured.

Pantone Metallics for Graphic Design vs. Pantone Metallic Shimmers for Fashion/Product Design

What is the difference between Pantone Metallics and Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors (FHI) Metallic Shimmers?

Pantone Metallics are part of the Pantone Graphics System and are formulated and developed as ink printed onto paper and should be only referenced for ink-printed projects.

Pantone FHI Metallic Shimmers are part of the Pantone FHI System and are formulated using a nitrocellulose coating (similar to paint) onto paper and should be referenced for hard and soft goods product development projects.

Referencing a Pantone Color for development using a different application and substrate other than the original intent can lead to mis-managed expectations, unnecessary additional production time and cost, and frustration.

When would I use a Pantone Metallics Color versus a Pantone FHI Metallic Shimmers color?

Pantone Metallics are formulated and developed as ink printed onto paper and should be only referenced for ink-printed projects. Use Pantone Metallics for such print projects as packaging, logos and branding, signage, marketing materials, advertising, stationery, direct mail, presentations, corporate reports, announcements, cards, brochures and collateral, multimedia, interactive, and digital design.

Pantone FHI Metallic Shimmers are formulated using a nitrocellulose coating (similar to paint) onto paper and should be referenced for hard and soft goods product development projects. Use Pantone FHI Metallic Shimmers for such non-printed projects as toys, cosmetics, housewares, electronics, fashion accessories, furniture, automotive, etc.

Do the Pantone Metallics colors match to the Pantone FHI Metallic Shimmers color?

In 2019, Pantone launched 54 new Pantone Metallics colors. Most them were inspired from the Metallic Shimmers line launched in 2018. Pantone’s FHI products are developed according to global trends. The graphics arts and packaging industries embraces trend colors as well, but Pantone Graphics adopts those that resonate strongest and most with global audiences as one major influence will be onto packaging that often enjoys a longer shelf life.

Which metallic system is right for me?

If you work in printed media, and use printing inks for your project production, then you should be referring to, specifying, and approving colors from the Pantone Metallics collection.

If you work in any other types of color application outside of printing inks, such as fashion design, product development, etc., then you should be using Pantone FHI Metallic Shimmers for color referencing with your projects.

Pantone Metallics Coated (Graphics) vs Pantone Metallic Shimmers Guide (FHI) Quick Comparison Guide

Guide Features
Pantone Metallics Coated
Pantone FHI Metallic Shimmers
Number of Colors
Type of Substrate
Printed Ink
Lacquer Coating
Color Numbers
Color Names
Base Ink Colors Only
6 Colors per Page
Full-Page Color
Guide Size
1.6875”w x 9.25”h
1.75”w x 6”h
Matching Chip Book?
Available Replacement Pages?
Large format sheet/swatch?
Lighting Indicator Tool?
Master Standard Digital Values Available?
Product Users
Graphic Designer
Packaging Designer
Product Designers
Textile Designers
Inks for Screen Printing
Interior Designers
Digital Designers
Color Evaluators
Color Approvers
Project Uses
Branding / Logos
Marketing Materials
Commercial Graphics
Printed Products
Hard Goods
Soft Goods
Fashion Accessories
Coatings and Paints

Does it make sense to use both the Pantone Metallics and Pantone FHI Metallic Shimmers?

If you are working in multiple materials and/or printing branding, marketing, POP, packaging, or other collateral to match logos or dominant colors originating from a hard or soft good, then both metallic color products can be very helpful.

In 2019, Pantone launched 54 new Pantone Metallics colors, some of which were inspired from the FHI Metallic Shimmers line launched in 2018. In addition, there are similar colors in both product sets, which can help your brand colors look cohesive when applied to different materials.

Also, adding a specialty pearlescent effects coating to Pantone Metallics can help accentuate the reflective quality of the printed inks to look very similar to those in the Metallics Shimmers pages. A specialty coating sample can be found in the front of both the Pantone Metallics Guide and Chip Book for visual reference and comparison.

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