How Do You Read the Pantone PMS Color Chart?


Quick Answer

Read the Pantone Matching System color chart by looking at the colors on the chart and associating them with the listed PMS number. The PMS chart helps standardize colors for printers, monitors and graphic design, ensuring that customers receive the exact colors they want.

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Full Answer

The PMS uses a series of colored squares along with listed PMS numbers to allow users to identify the exact colors they want for printed materials or goods. The wide selection of colors on PMS charts provides graphics artists a large palette with which to work. Technicians testing printers can print a subsection of the PMS chart and compare it to a second handheld chart, typically an official chart from Pantone, to see if they need to make adjustments to the printer's output.

Users can also configure digital displays by comparing a handheld color chart with one that appears on a monitor, smartphone or television. Comparing the same colors side-by-side using PMS numbers allows device owners to adjust display settings until the charts match. This helps users bring their displays as close to broadcast colors as possible. PMS is not the only standardized color matching system available, but it is one of the most widely used.

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