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COLOR INTELLIGENCE:

Pantone Numbering Explained


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Each Pantone Matching System Color uses a unique coding scheme. This key will help
you find which System a particular Pantone Color number or name is associated with:

Pantone for Graphics and Multimedia

Pantone Matching System ® Coated or Uncoated


(examples: PANTONE 185 C, PANTONE Cool Gray 1 U)

Pantone Formula Guides and Solid Chips contain 1,867 solid (spot) Pantone Matching System Colors for printing
ink on paper. The majority of these colors are referred to using a three- or four-digit number followed by a C or U.
There are also a small number of named colors, such as the 18 base colors like PANTONE Reflex Blue C or
PANTONE Orange 021 U.
The letter suffix refers to the paper stock on which it is printed: a "C" for coated or gloss paper or a "U" for
uncoated paper.

Pantone Specialty Solid Colors


Pantone Metallics
(examples: PANTONE 877 C, PANTONE 8244 C)

Pantone Metallics Colors are referenced using either a three- or four-digit number that begins with “8”, followed by
a “C” to indicate a coated paper stock. There is no uncoated version of Pantone Metallics Colors.

Pantone Premium Metallics


(example: PANTONE 10286 C)

Pantone Premium Metallics Colors are referenced using a five-digit number that begins with “10”, followed by a “C”
to indicate coated paper stock. There is no uncoated version of Pantone Premium Metallics Colors.

Pantone Pastels & Neons


(examples: PANTONE 915 U, PANTONE Yellow 0131 C)

Pantone Pastels & Neons Colors are referenced using either a three- or four-digit number beginning with “9”. There
are two exceptions: The neon base colors, which are three-digit numbers beginning with “8”, and the pastel base
colors, which are named with a descriptive color name, followed by a four-digit number that begins with “0”. Each
color has a suffix that indicates the type of paper stock on which it is printed: a "C" for coated or gloss paper or a
"U" for uncoated paper.

CMYK / Four–Color Process


Pantone CMYK / 4–Color Process Guides Coated, Uncoated
(examples: PANTONE P 11-4 C, PANTONE P 69-15 U).

These guides offer an independent collection of nearly 3,000 CMYK colors that bear no relationship to the Pantone
Matching System.
Pantone Process Color numbers start with the letter P followed by a one- to three-digit number, a dash, and a one-
to two-digit number. The "C" suffix indicates coated stock and the "U" uncoated.

Process Simulations of Solid Pantone Colors


Pantone Color Bridge Coated or Uncoated
(example: PANTONE 185 CP, PANTONE 425 UP)

This guide provides side-by-side printed comparisons of solid Pantone Matching System Colors and their closest 4.3
four-color process equivalent. The process simulation is identified by using the solid color's name or number,
followed by "CP" for coated or "UP" for uncoated.
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(examples: PANTONE 7662 XGC, PANTONE 347 XGC)

The Pantone Extended Gamut Coated guide contains 1,729 seven-color simulations of the solid (spot) Pantone
Matching System Colors printed on coated stock. The majority of these colors are referred to using a three- or four-
digit number followed by an XGC. There are also a small number of named colors, such as the seven base colors
like PANTONE Process Magenta C or PANTONE XG Orange C.
The letter suffix refers to the type of process: “XG” for Extended Gamut and a "C" for the coated or gloss paper on
which it is printed.

Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors

Fashion, Home + Interiors Paper, Cotton, and Nylon Guides and Standards
(examples PANTONE 14–4510 TPX or Aquatic, PANTONE 15–1247 TCX or Tangerine)

Color reference numbers in this system contain two digits followed by a dash and four digits with either a TPX or TC
suffix. TPX indicates that that the reference was printed on paper, the TC indicates that it’s a dyed cotton reference.
Each color also has an alpha name reference as a secondary identifier. Now in eco-friendly formulations indicated
by TPG color suffix. This new edition of the Color Guide presents the existing 2,310 Fashion, Home + Interiors
Colors created from new, more Earth-friendly formulations and an accompanying new Pantone Color Number suffix,
TPG (Textile Paper – “Green”).

Pantone Plastics

Pantone Plastics Selector Chips


(examples PANTONE Q270–2–4, PANTONE T925–5–5)

Pantone Plastics Selector color references are denoted by a Q or a T followed by a three–digit number, a dash and
two single digits separated by a dash. The Q and T signify opaque and transparent colors, respectively.

Pantone Plastic Standard Chips (large plastic chips)


(examples PANTONE PQ-185C, PQ-19-4007TCX)

Pantone Plastic Standard Chips are matched to the colors in the Pantone Matching System or Pantone Fashion,
Home + Interiors Color System. The chips have two levels of thickness are made using Polypropylene resin.
Pantone Plastic Standard Chips color references matched to the Pantone Matching System are denoted by a PQ
followed by a dash and the three- or four-digit color number (corresponding to the Pantone Matching System) plus
a “C”. PANTONE Plastic Standard Chips color references matched to the Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors Color
System are denoted by a PQ followed by a dash, two digits, a second dash, and the final four digits of the matched
Fashion, Home + Interiors plus the TCX suffix.

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