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CMYK and Pantone colors

April 8, 2021

Latest company case about CMYK and Pantone colors

      The power of color should be never underestimate in marketing. Think of the Coca Cola® brand. What color do you see? If you’re like most people, you see the color red. Not just any red. Coke red. Thus, color plays a vital role in a brand establishment and allows you to build a more personal connection with your consumers.

      Keeping the color right and consistent is not easy. There are thousands of designers, developers, and printers working on Coke’s packaging and marketing worldwide; and there are endless varieties of mobile devices, browsers, TVs, and printing methods that carry the coke brand. Let’s separate them into two categories: Print and Onscreen. CMYK and Pantone are for Print; RGB and HEX are for Onscreen. In this article, we only talk about the CMYK and Pantone. Hoping you can get a better understanding of how to choose the right color for your physical packaging.


     ​CMYK(cyan, magenta, yellow, key)

      CMYK stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key. In laymen's terms, you can think of this as blue, red, yellow, and black. The CMYK color model is also called “process color” or “four-color”.

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      CMYK color is actually a result of combining tiny dots of four ink colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black are printed. The large and small CMYK dots overlapping each other can create a wide spectrum of colors. If you have a magnifying glass, you can see the CMYK dots and how they overlap each other to make the final color different. Here are the two pictures to help you understand.

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     PANTONE (PMS(Pantone Matching System))

      CMYK color is combined by tiny dots, but the Pantone color is one solid color throughout. If you see the printed Pantone color through a magnifying glass, you can not find the colors dots but only the one solid color. Pantone color is vital when you want to keep the colors of your packaging consistent. Designer and Printing factories all around the world are using the same Pantone color system, that’s why some brands like Coke can always keep the Coke Red color the same. If you want to choose a color for your brand, you can visit or purchase a Pantone color book on their website:

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      Pantone Matching System(PMS) is a standardized color system that revolutionized the printing market. The Pantone Color Matching System ensured that printing manufacturers all over the world can refer to the same color and feel confident in their matching ability, despite they are never directly contacting with each other. Currently, Pantone boasts a total of over 1,800 different colors.

      How to choose the right Pantone books? Here is a simple way, if you are a designer or brand owner, and you want to choose the right color for your brand logo. You need to buy the “FORMULA GUIDE Solid Uncoated” book and the “FORMULA GUIDE Solid Coated” book. The coated and uncoated means the paper that used to print the Pantone books. Some paper like offset paper and white kraft paper (same as your A4 printer paper) is Uncoated paper. Some paper like glossy paper and magazine paper that has a coating over the surface to make it smoothy is called Coated paper. If you are a printing factory, you also need the CMYK Uncoated and coated books so that you can know how to mix the CMYK inks to meet the final color result.


      The differences between CMYK and Pantone should be considered when deciding which color process to use. For consistent colors of branding and logos, Pantone is a better choice but higher cost. For print jobs where exact color isn’t a concern, CMYK is the best choice and lower price. It all depends on the nature of the print job and budgetary constraints. If you have no ideas which one to choose, you can talk to us to find out which option is best for you.


2021.4.1 by Jessie

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