How to Find a Pantone Color

Pantone is a system for locating, matching and referring to specific colors to resolve conflict in color matching. This system was primarily designed for the graphic arts industry. The problem of color matching led to the creation of the PANTONE® MATCHING SYSTEM®.

Pantone color book.

This system is a collection of cards that organize colors and tones in a fan-type book. According the Pantone Inc., this system is now the worldwide standard for color identification and communication. Pantone colors are used in graphics, paint, architecture, fashion, décor and other industries. How to identify or find a color is made easier by using the Pantone book, Color Cue 2.1® and formula guides.

  1. Select the correct PANTONE® MATCHING SYSTEM® book for your application. (Available are eight basic books plus software and specialty selections.)

  2. Compare your object with the PANTONE® MATCHING SYSTEM® to find the correct color.

  3. Locate a Pantone distributor (if the correct book is too expensive or you cannot determine which book is the right one for your application). Bring the object being color-matched with you when possible Pantone has 578 distributors in the United States and hundreds more worldwide. Most distributors have complete color-matching systems and can accurately identify the book and number for you.

  4. Use a Color Cue 2.1® and formula guides to electronically sample the color of the object. The computerized device will then identify the Pantone color. The Color Cue 2.1® and formula guides provide a hand-held electronic tool used by people who check color frequently in diverse environments. The Color Cue 2.1® can be purchased through any Pantone distributor.

  5. Compare the Color Cue 2.1® selection with the book color to check for accuracy in your lighting conditions. (Different light conditions and different surface materials affect the accuracy of sampling.)

  6. Tip

    Take the Farnsworth Munsell 100 Hue Test to determine the class of color discrimination of the person determining the Pantone color matching. This test identifies how capable a person is of making fine determinations of color.