Q: What is PMS, Spot colors, Metallic Colors?

Pantone Matching System (PMS):

A: A proprietary color space used in a variety of industries, primarily printing, though sometimes in the manufacture of colored paint, fabric, and plastics. The Pantone Color Matching System is largely a standardized color reproduction system. By standardizing the colors, different manufacturers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure colors match without direct contact with one another.

Spot Color:

A: A spot color is a specially mixed ink using in printing. Spot color inks come in a rainbow of colors, including some specialty inks such as metallic and fluorescent. Unlike CMYK or process color which creates colors by laying down layers of just 4 specific inks, spot colors are pre-mixed and you use one ink for each color in the publication. There are different brands of spot color inks. In the United States, the dominant spot color printing system is PANTONE. The Pantone Matching System or PMS consists of over 1,000 colors of ink. Other spot color systems include TOYO, DIC, and ANPA. In offset printing, a spot color is any color generated by an ink (pure or mixed) that is printed using a single run.

The widely spread offset-printing process is composed of four spot colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (black) commonly referred to as CMYK. More advanced processes involve the use of six spot colors (hexachromatic process), which add Orange and Green to the process (termed CMYKOG). The two additional spot colors are added to compensate for the ineffective reproduction of faint tints using CMYK colors only. However, offset technicians around the world use the term spot color to mean any color generated by a non-standard offset ink; such as metallic, fluorescent, spot varnish, or custom hand-mixed inks.

Metallic Colors:

A: Metallic Colors are actually Pantone Colors that have a metallic flake or sheen to them. They reflect the light to create a more metallic look.