The PANTONE Matching System, or PMS for short, is an industry standard color matching system used by printers to ensure that the appropriate shade of the specified color is used. While it may be easy to say "orange" and trust you'll get what you want, the truth is... you may not.
There are so many shades of "orange", and one person's orange may be 20 shades off from another's.
To avoid the trouble that comes from the unwritten, unexplained, and often unexpressed preferences you or your customer may have, we prefer to work with the PANTONE Matching System for our jobs. In this system, each shade of every color has a specific, unique number. The naming convention may be something like "Red 185c" or simply "PMS 185c". The "c" stands for "Coated". There are 2 PANTONE swatches available: "Coated" and "Uncoated". We prefer the "Coated" version because it is more true to the results you will get in apparel decoration.
So, how do I actually SEE these color options?
So glad you asked! A quick place to look is www.pantone.com. There you will see their color finder, where you can type in any PMS number and see the result. However, everyone's computer monitor and mobile device renders colors differently, so what you see on your screen at Pantone's website may STILL not be an accurate representation of that color.
Our best recommendation to you, if colors matter, is to purchase a PANTONE Solid Coated color swatch.
The best place we have found to get these is right here.
Be sure to get a complete guide and not just a supplemental one. Having one of these on hand is crucial when true-to-tone colors are a must.
If purchasing a PANTONE color guide is not an option for you, but you are still concerned about colors being right, then we recommend you come to our facility to verify colors with our own in-house PANTONE color guides.