Spot Colors


Spot Colors

Even if you're not in the printing industry, you've probably used spot colors. For instance, they are on our walls and cars. They are surrounding us.

Spot colours are specially formulated, pre-mixed inks used in printing to achieve a specific, consistent colour. They are used as an alternative to process colours, which are created by varying the amounts of the four primary colours cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK). Spot colours are especially useful for printing solid, bright colours as well as reproducing corporate colours or other specific shades that are difficult to achieve with CMYK. They're also frequently used in the printing of spot illustrations like charts, maps, and diagrams.

Spot Color Systems

In printing, there are several different spot colour systems, each with their own set of colours. Here are a few examples:

Pantone Matching System (PMS): This is one of the most widely used spot colour systems for producing a wide range of printing colours. The Pantone system includes over 1,800 different colours, each with its own unique number, and is used by graphic designers and printers to ensure colour consistency across various printing methods and materials.

Toyo Color Finder: This system, which is similar to PMS and offers a wide range of colours, is widely used in Asia, particularly in Japan.

RAL Classic: This is a colour system that is primarily used in Europe for industrial and architectural coatings, among other things. The RAL system has 210 colours, each with its own unique number.

Graphic designers and printers use the Focoltone system (FOur COLour TONE) to create spot colours for printing. The Focoltone system comes in a variety of colours, each with its own unique number.

DIC Color Guide: This system is popular in Asia and is used in the printing and packaging industries. The DIC system includes a wide variety of colours, each with its own unique number.


The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is one of the most widely used spot colour systems, with a large colour palette to choose from. Here are a few examples of colours available in the Pantone system:

Pantone Red 032 is a vibrant, warm red that is ideal for creating eye-catching designs.

Pantone Green 347 is a vibrant lime green that is ideal for achieving a fresh, modern look.

Pantone Blue 286 is a deep, rich blue that is ideal for conveying elegance and sophistication.

Pantone Yellow 123: This is a bright, cheerful yellow that is ideal for conveying a cheerful and optimistic vibe.

Pantone Black: A rich, deep black that is ideal for conveying mystery and elegance.

Pantone Silver-10077-C: This is a metallic silver that is ideal for exuding elegance and luxury.

Pantone Gold 16-0836 TPX : This is a metallic gold that is ideal for conveying wealth and prestige.

These are just a few of the colours available through the Pantone Matching System. The Pantone system has over 1,800 colours to choose from, and it is widely used by graphic designers and printers to ensure colour consistency across different printing methods and materials.

By not having to refer to CMYK percentages then it is possible for the designer and the printer to achieve and exact match by referring to the pantone color charts.

An Important Update on using Pantone colors in Creative Cloud Products 

Adobe's Creative Cloud applications, including Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, no longer support free Pantone colors. Customers must now pay a monthly ($15) or annual ($90) subscription fee via the Adobe Pantone Connect plugin in order to gain access to the entire collection of Pantone color books. This modification resulted from Pantone's decision to alter its business model and require direct payment from customers. Some Photoshop users have reported that older files containing Pantone colors are now black. However, workarounds such as disabling updates and copying metadata values are available.

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