The Complexity of Colors

Even if you never really understand why, you may need to resign yourself to the fact that you can’t trust your computer monitors or your office printer for colour matching.

The artwork, as it appears on your computer screen is almost certainly not accurate. Here’s just a few of the reasons why:

  • Every computer screen or device renders colour differently.
  • On-screen proof is using a totally different method of creating colour than a printed piece, and some on-screen colours are actually impossible to reproduce in four-colour printing.
  • Even different programs on the same computer can render colour differently.
  • Home printers are not accurately calibrated for colour and may vary wildly.
  • The paper you are using is likely different than the substrate you intend to print on and may have different reflective qualities.
  • You may notice a major shift in colours as your ink cartridges and toners cartridges ages.

PMS stands for the Pantone Matching System.

Pantone provides a universal language of colour that enables colour-critical decisions through every stage of the workflow for brands and manufacturers. More than 10 million designers and producers around the world rely on Pantone products and services to help define, communicate and control colour from inspiration to realization.


There can be so much variation of colours when using CMYK, and Pantone set out to create a system that allowed for consistent colour from job to job, printer to printer. It allows for colours to be communicated between clients, retailers, designers, and manufacturers without any variation, ensuring that the process between designing the logo and printing is as smooth as possible.

PMS can be used to match thread colours for embroidery, and inks for screen printing.


If yes; fantastic. We ask that you provide this information with your logo when submitting your enquiry. If not, please refer to the PMS chart below to colour match your logo.

A Little History about

The PANTONE Matching System

The Pantone Matching System was created by Lawrence Herbel in 1963 in order to solve the problems associated with producing accurate and consistent colours by creating standardized colours of ink through detailed measurements and ink mixing. One of the biggest advantages in using specific Pantone colours in your digital files is the colour reproduction will be identical every time you print. This is how a company such as coca cola can produce the exact red (PMS 75-1) in their logo for example, no matter which printing company they use.

The Pantone Matching System (PMS) system uses pre-determined, published colour formulas to create a large number of ink colours. Similar to the paint swatch guides you find at your favourite paint store, the pantone colour chart contains thousands of colour swatches created from a palette of basic colours. Creating a Pantone spot colour is similar to mixing paint such as blue and yellow to get green, but with much more precision. Each colour has a ‘PMS’ number assigned to it. These numbers are used to identify the exact colour needed. The specified ink is then prepared using the correct mixture of base colours, either purchased pre-mixed from an ink company or mixed on-site at the printing company. Using PMS inks is called spot colour printing.

Colour is very subjective, which is why the Pantone Matching System works so well. It takes all the guesswork out of colour identification. Every computer monitor is different, every printer is different. By standardising the colours, manufacturers and customers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure colours match. It is used by many printers and graphic artists to deliver reliable, reproducible colours to their customers. The ink manufacturers who create the base colour inks are strictly licensed by Pantone for colour accuracy.

If you are working remotely from your printer or designer, you can mail them something that shows the colour you want: either a print out or a piece of ribbon or a paint swatch from your hardware store to show them the colour you want. In some cases (especially with neon colours or very intense hues), a CMYK match might not be possible. But at least your printer or graphic designer will know the colour you are looking for and they can match it as close as possible.