Pantone color matching in packaging

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Pantone is a standardized color matching system which aids in finding the exact hue of color desired by the user in order to transfer it to the product to have the desired impact on the user. The foremost step in color matching should be knowhow of color ranges and impact of material on it. Many companies like ZEE Packaging using CMYK and Pantone matching color to print boxes.

Pantone matching system (PMS)

PMS palettes differ according to the result desired. Some common ones include:

  • Pantone Solid palette
  • Process palette
  • Textile palette
  • Plastic palette
  • Goe palette
  • Bridging the gap between chosen color and the final print
  • Knowing the precise name of pantone color to be chosen and its application on the material to be chosen.
  • They view different than the original color as screens use RGB colors.
  • Getting a pantone book color guide. There are main two types: coated and uncoated distinguished by ‘C’ and ‘U’ on the books. Since these books are expensive and the company is short on budget, they can buy only one i.e. coated as 90% of packaging type is on coated paper.
  • Colors on these books may fade overtime and hence demands replacement or else would affect the selection of colors and in turn, the printing.

Factors affecting pantone matching

Even if color matching is done accurately, several factors can alter the final result in packaging by a great deal. These ‘factors’ are:

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  1. Types of paper used in packaging that the color is to be printed on. Pantone colors are the exact same, but the materiality of paper it is to be printed on makes the color to appear different to the viewer. This is because a matte surface generally reduces the vibrancy of the color while a glossy one elevates it.
  2. Matching colors using the compatible color guide. This is because these ‘guides’ come in a wide variety including coated and uncoated (for matte and glossy finishes on paper) and separate swatches for fabric printing. Hence, a manual access and match of the colors required is mandatory.
  3. The type of box the paper is to be wrapped upon. This can either dim or enhance the end result substantially. For instance, a light paper wrapped over a dark material dims it while the same would brighten the entire package hence enhancing its charm.
  4. Another factor that might affect judgement in differentiating a color difference of same type on different materials is the fact that a light color has less pigmentation as compared to the darker ones and hence wouldn’t show much contrast on varying material types. However, the darker the shade gets the more apparent the distinction becomes.

Pros and cons

This system of color matching has a diverse range of variations in colors and reduces room for error. For packaging, choosing colors from PMS aids in creating uniform color code. Apart from this, since pantone has an extensive range of colors including neon, pastels and metallic color, it gives chooser an edge when deciding. Nevertheless, if a wide range of colors is involved this process can be costly.  So, you need to make a decision accordingly.


Significance of pantone color matching in packaging lies in the fact that they aid in building the brand identity as they can be used to lay the exact impact company desires on the customers.  

In order to the accomplish the goal of obtaining the same result of selected color and color achieved after printing, King Custom Boxes can have a pantone color swatch at hand which will reduce dependency on online browsing of colors. This is beneficial as the screen browsing doesn’t guarantee the perfect result that would be attained once the printing is done; while the physical copy of all the colors present when choosing reduces this error significantly. However, it should be kept in mind to not purchase old swatch books as the colors in it might be already faded which will give room for error. Uncoated swatch books are more useful and hence should be invested in.  

  • Another option to amplify the accuracy might be to allow the customers to have a color drawdown; it is requesting a sample of chosen color on the chosen paper type. This can only be done once the perfect color swatch for printing is picked. However, this takes some time and hence should only be made available if this time frame can be compensated in other ways.
  • Another alternative could be having physical results of a certain swatch done on various papers available at the main branch so that the customers visiting can easily decide for themselves. This will decrease the time taken otherwise if the color drawdown is done and hence boost the sales accordingly. These range of papers can be simple paper, polymers or other plastic products.  
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