Graphics - FAQ - Pantone Graphics and 294 New Colors

FAQ - Pantone Graphics and 294 New Colors

New Colors

How does Pantone create new colors?

When it comes to adding new colors for graphics, fashion, and product design, Pantone leverages the international trend-spotting intelligence of the Pantone Color Institute™ (PCI). The PCI is devoted to the research and study of all things color related, and identifies key design trends across industries, as well as important signifiers of new cultural and social influences on the overall direction and use of color. Most of the new 294 Pantone Matching System® (PMS) Colors found in this guide were specifically formulated to enable more and better matches to our most popular Fashion, Home + Interiors System colors, while ensuring on-press achievability with typical industry printing practices.

How do I find the new Pantone Colors in the guides?

The new colors are incorporated directly into the body of the guide, located within color sections of similar hue. Each new color page is marked with a square icon in the corner, making them easy to identify at a glance.

Which Pantone Products feature the new colors?

  • Formula Guide Coated & Uncoated
  • Color Bridge Coated
  • Color Bridge Uncoated
  • Solid Chips Coated & Uncoated
  • Solid Chips Replacement Pages
  • On Demand Prints: Super Swatch, Super Chips, Sticker Chips, Simulator
  • Pantone’s Master Standard digital data
  • All Pantone Digital Libraries and digital applications
  • Pantone Color Manager Software

Are the new colors available as Pantone Plastic Standard Chips?

At this time, the new colors are not yet available as Plastic Standard Chips.

How can I access the new colors in my Adobe® software?

The best way to use Pantone through Adobe Creative Cloud (InDesign®, Photoshop®, and Illustrator®) is the Pantone Extension for Adobe Creative Cloud. The extension includes all available Pantone libraries and colors including the 294 new colors added to Pantone Matching System™ (PMS) Coated and Uncoated added as part of our most recent color expansion, along with the following features:

  • Search and filter rapidly through all Pantone libraries and colors
  • Import color from your artboard to find closet Pantone matches, and export Pantone colors to your swatches panel
  • Convert CMYK, RGB, and Hex values to Pantone colors
  • Create, tag, save and share Pantone color palettes in collaboration with your team
  • Cross-reference Pantone colors to closest matches in other Pantone systems
  • Get analogous, complementary, monochromatic, split complementary, triadic and tetradic harmonies for all Pantone colors
  • Reference color-specific data and quickly find color samples on

The extension offers a 30-day Free Trial for All First Time Users, with a $4.99 per month recurring subscription fee after free trial expiration.

Additionally, to reward our loyal Pantone customers, we’ve created a Graphics Bundle Promotion: a 6-Month Free Trial with purchase of eligible Graphics Products.

To download the Pantone® Extension for Adobe Creative Cloud or to learn more about the promotional offerings, please visit our listing on the Adobe Exchange.

Cross Referencing Colors Between Systems

How do I cross-reference a PMS Color with an FHI Color or vice versa?

Pantone provides a free tool on our site called Color Cross Reference: This digital guide aids designers and brands working on projects with multiple different materials in finding the closest matches between our two different color systems.

How do I visually compare colors between Pantone Systems?

When comparing physical colors between the PMS and FHI Systems, Pantone recommends understanding how the color will be applied in both cases, considering the texture and/or finish of the final product, and reviewing colors under the lighting conditions in which the final product will be displayed. For more information, please read our Best Practices Article.

Graphic Guides – General Information

How do I use my Pantone Guides?

Pantone Formula Guide is a helpful visual tool for the selection, specification, communication, and reproduction of Pantone Matching System (PMS) Colors. PMS is the global color language used in the design and print industries for logos and branding, marketing materials, packaging, and when spot color printing is required. Formula Guide provides a unique identification number for each color, as well as standardized ink formulations for achieving PMS Colors using globally available Pantone Base inks.

Our guides are intended as visual references only. Although 98% of the PMS Colors displayed in our Formula Guide measure under 2dE tolerance to the Pantone Master Standard digital data, they are subject to adjustment in order to accommodate specific print conditions. For this reason, we do not recommend measuring colors in Formula Guide with a spectrophotometer.

The colors in our guide can change over time due to pigment fading, paper aging, exposure to light, and handling. To help minimize these changes, avoid prolonged exposure to light. For optimal performance and to ensure you’re referencing the most up-to-date Pantone Colors, replace this guide every 12-18 months.

We recommend that Pantone Solid Chips or Sticker Chips of your intended color always accompany any artwork and design files as a precise color reference to strive for on press.

We also recommend evaluating all color-critical decisions against the Pantone Master Standard digital data in order to ensure better color accuracy in your daily work.

How do I accurately view the colors in my Pantone Guides?

For evaluating and approving color intended for print and packaging applications, we suggest using a D50 (5000K) dedicated light source.

Why does the color in my Pantone Guide look different than the color on my screen?

Calibration is one of the most important processes for maintaining the accuracy and precision of color measurement and display equipment. Using calibration hardware and software keeps your devices functioning as good as or even better than when you first purchased them. Devices like display monitors, scanners, printers, projectors, cell phones, and tablets all shift their performance with each use. Color-critical designers rely on calibration to control their design tools and counteract these shifts.

What is Master Standard digital data?

Pantone’s Master Standards are digital data points—the spectral data that makes up a color’s unique visual “DNA”—that were determined and set when we relaunched our 2,161 Pantone Matching System® (PMS) Colors in 2010. These Master Standards do not change, and are designed for colors printed on coated paper stock. Our Master Standards are developed individually for each type of substrate, printing format, and standardized ink set, using specific press settings and methodologies. The data helps ensure Pantone Colors can be consistently reproduced in the intended format around the globe, not just in the printed Pantone Publications.

Did the ink formulations in my Formula Guide change?

Neither the ink formulations nor the Master Standard digital data for all Pantone Matching System (PMS) colors are changing. The Formula Guide updates are strictly to better align the visual representation of colors with our Master Standard digital data.

Why does the color in my old Formula Guide or Solid Chips Book look different than the same color in my new Pantone Tools?

Pantone Guides and Books are produced and measured against the strictest manufacturing standards. In each edition, we ensure highly regulated ink formula consistency, use popular commercial-grade 100 lb and 80 lb text weight paper stocks, and apply careful monitoring for imperfections during the production process.

There are several factors that can affect the appearance of the colors in your guide(s). Colors may appear inaccurate over time as a result of handling, fading, improper storage, light exposure, and unavoidable pigment “burnout”, among other factors. Pantone recommends replacing guides and books every 12-18 months to ensure your colors are accurate and up to date.

Why do the color values differ between my Pantone Guides and different design applications?

Conversion of Pantone Spot Colors to CMYK, RGB, or other systems is heavily dependent on the specific print conditions being used. The values provided within this guide are not absolute, but should be considered starting points. If absolute accuracy is needed, then refer to your printer or software vendor to adjust the color conversion process for your specific substrate and printing process. Read the full article here.

Why do the CMYK colors differ between my old and new Color Bridge Guides?

With CMYK process printing, color is produced by the interaction of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black inks to emulate a solid-formulated color. Any variation in process, registration, substrate, ink, density, or other related variables can alter the final appearance. When producing the Color Bridge Guide, Pantone no longer manually adjusts the appearance of process printing equivalents to illustrate the ideal, best-case scenario for color achievability. Instead, to allow designers and printers to more accurately evaluate their printing options, our guides represent color reproductions as they would typically appear using normal commercial print production processes and conditions. Read the full article here

Pantone Matching System (PMS) Vs. Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors (FHI) System For Product Design

What is the difference between Pantone’s PMS and FHI Systems?

PMS Colors are formulated for and displayed as ink printed onto paper and should only be referenced for ink-printed projects.

Pantone FHI System colors are formulated for all other non-ink-printed types of hard and soft goods products and projects.

Referencing a Pantone Color that’s been developed for an application and substrate different than the one being used can lead to mis-managed expectations and additional production time and cost. Avoid unnecessary frustration by selecting the proper Pantone System for your project.

When would I use a Pantone PMS Color versus a Pantone FHI Color?

Use PMS Colors for print projects such as: packaging, logos and branding, signage, marketing materials, advertising, stationery, direct mail, presentations, corporate reports, announcements, cards, brochures and collateral, as well as multimedia, interactive, and digital design.

Pantone FHI Colors should be referenced for hard and soft goods product development projects, such as: textiles, toys, cosmetics, housewares, electronics, fashion accessories, furniture, automotive, etc.

Which Pantone 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 Matching System (PMS) collection.

If you work in any other type of color application outside of printing inks, such as fashion design, product development, etc., then you should be using the Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors (FHI) system as a reference for your projects.

Pantone PMS vs Pantone FHI Quick Comparison Guide

Pantone Matching System
Fashion, Home + Interiors
Number of Colors
Printed or Screened Ink
Hard or Soft Goods
(Everything that is not Printed or Screened Ink)
Color Numbers
Color Names
Base Ink Colors Only
Is Digital Data Available?
Product Users
Graphic Designers
Packaging Designers
Product Designers
Textile Designers
Screen Printing Only
Interior Designers
Digital Designers
Printers / Converters
Color Evaluations
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 PMS and FHI Systems together?

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

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