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What is a PMS color guide?

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Quick Answer

A PMS color guide is a standardized color reproduction system that manufacturers and professional users in various locations reference to ensure they produce matching colors. PMS refers to the Pantone Matching System, and the PMS color guide is also known as the PMS color chart. This proprietary color space has been useful in many printing industries and in the manufacture of colored paints, plastics and fabrics.

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Many artists, printers, designers and manufacturers, among other professionals, use the PMS color guide for accurate color identification, quality control, communication and design specification. Using the PMS color guide, professional users and color manufacturers can choose matching pigments without consulting with each other in processes such as the CMYK model, which uses four inks: cyan, yellow, magenta and black.

Professionals should renew their PMS color guides annually, as the inks may fade with time and become yellowish, according to Pantone-Colours.com. The colors on the PMS color guide may also vary according to the different editions, which mainly depend on the paper stock used in printing the guide. The editions include coated, matte and uncoated paper stock. Professionals should use similar versions of the PMS color guide to ensure they accurately match their color choices.

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