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Pantone FAQ'S

Search our Pantone FAQ’S and see if we have answered your questions about Pantone Colour Standards. We cover queries about choosing from Pantone PMS or FHI ranges, what the suffix letters after the colour reference numbers, how often to replace your Pantone books and what are Pantone colour standards.

Contact the Colour Standards team at if you need further help.

Can you supply free colour samples?

No, we cannot supply free colour samples for NCS, RAL and Pantone colours. There is a small charge as the colour standard is the product rather than the paint, ink or fabric.

Paint, wallpaper and curtain manufacturers may give free colour samples and charts away, as they know many people will return to buy the product. Pantone RAL and NCS cannot do this as the end product is not sold by them. They hold the global Intellectual Property of the colours with their colour reference numbers. Paint and coating companies pay a licence to have permission to produce material in those colours.

Pantone, RAL and NCS have developed internationally recognised and globally available colour standards. Use them to send to clients, plan your designs, communicate with manufacturers and check the final product.

Samples of Pantone, RAL and NCS colours can be taken to a paint mixing shop or supplied to a coatings, plastic masterbatch or textile company.


Can I use a Pantone Formula Guide to match fabrics?

A Pantone Formula Guide could be used to match fabrics, however we don’t recommend it as the book is not designed for this purpose. Dyers, fabric suppliers and mills find it much more difficult to produce a good colour match to this Pantone book compared to the fabric books. The Formula Guide coated version is particularly a problem because of the shiny appearance of the paper.

Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors range of colours have been specifically developed for textiles because they are achievable on fabric. Whereas the Formula Guide coated is for Graphic Designers to use for logo colours and printing on clear film and white paper. Many of the colours in the Formula Guide are too saturated (bright) to be achievable on fabric.

The Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors range contains colours more suitable for clothing and home textiles. Consequently we advise that for fabrics you select colours from the Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors books. Send your suppliers the individual fabric SMART swatches for them to use as a colour standard.

There is one exception to this advice, most licenced artwork colours are specified by Pantone PMS numbers. Therefore printed licensed artwork can be matched to a Formula Guide.

How often should I replace my Pantone books?

It is recommended to replace your Pantone books at least every 12-18 months. However this does depend on how you store and use them!

Store Pantone books away from light and dust and handle with clean hands to keep them in great condition for as long as possible.

Frequent use of Pantone books will cause deterioration. We recommend replacing sooner if you leave books open on your desk or at the end of the press.

Likewise, if you regularly travel to client meetings with the paper fan guides or smaller books like the Cotton Passport, these will need replacing more regularly than a master library copy stored in a locked cupboard at the studio.

Even when well looked after, replace your Pantone books regularly to take advantage of additions of new colours added or updates in ink recipe formulations. Most Pantone books are Guides to the colour, also consider using the same edition as your manufacturing site or your client. This will ensure everyone is looking at the same colour.

Some of the reasons for damage to the books can be found below – not to mention spilling your coffee or accidentally marking with a biro!

  • Handling = smearing and removing pigment from natural oils on fingertips.
  • Pages rubbing together = scratching or removing pigment.
  • Light exposure = fading.
  • Paper aging = yellowing effects.
  • Ambient moisture = accelerated paper aging.
  • Natural pigment expiration = faster, noticeable colour variation, especially in lighter and pastel colours.

Reminder to replace your Pantone books

How to choose the colour and size of my Pantone swatch cards

Choose Pantone Swatch colour from Pantone > Fashion, Home & Interior > The first three products on this page are the Cotton, Polyester or Nylon Brights swatch cards. Please click on the swatch card material required. The following instructions work for all of the swatch card options.

1. Click onto the coloured wheel found under the product description. This will open up an image of the full Pantone palette in that particular range.
2. All the Pantone swatches show as coloured squares, either search through the colours or type the colour number, such as 18-0830, into the search box above the colour palette. The colour that matches the number searched, will then be displayed on its own.
3. To choose the Pantone Swatch colour, click  onto the square to select and then click the orange confirm button to proceed to the next step.
4. To choose the size of the swatch card, click onto the drop down box that will say ‘Choose an option’ and click on the size required.
5. The original 2 ply option is the standard size of swatch, this is 10cm x 11cm. For alternatives view the size descriptions in the blue box at the bottom of the page.
6. Amend the quantity, if you need more than one swatch of the same colour.
7. Click add to cart.
8. Repeat this process for all the other colours you may require.
9. Proceed to checkout by clicking the basket icon in the top right of the page.
10. Add the billing and delivery address and select the relevant mailing option – express post (essential for next day or high value) or standard post.
11. Continue to the secure payment page with Pay360 to complete the order.
12. We will receive the order and process it accordingly.


If you have any questions, please email us at and we will be happy to advise and help with your order.

Should I get the CMYK Guide set or the Color Bridge Set?

Should I get the CMYK Guide set or the Color Bridge Set? It can be a difficult choice to make.

The CYMK system is is a different system to the PANTONE PMS system and so it does not relate to Pantone Spot colours.

Need the CMYK equivalent of Pantone PMS Spot colours? Then you should purchase a Color Bridge Set. This is ideal if your clients select PMS colours only to decide they want them printing digitally in 4-color process.

Color Bridges display the closest match to the Pantone Spot colours, the client can be advised on the expected outcome. They have squares of Pantone Spot colours with their RGB and HTML code, alongside squares of the closest match using CMYK inks and their percentages.

CMYK Guides contain a separate range of 2868 colours, they contain only colours which exist within CMYK colour space. These also give the ink percentages to enable confident use of 4-colour process colours in offset lithographic printing. If you only work with 4 color process, your clients can select colours from these guides with confidence that they can be accurately reproduced.



Where can I buy Pantone paint?

VeriVide do not sell Pantone paint. We can sell you the Pantone colour standard which your supplier can match to.

Pantone is a copyrighted colour system and they do not make paint either! Pantone provides colour standards used by brands and manufacturers, enabling people to communicate colour and set colour specifications.

The colour system is licensed to manufacturers of a range of coloured products. Click here for full details of companies holding Pantone licenses for production of coloured materials including paint, powder coat and inks.

Unfortunately due to restrictions on shipping paint it must be manufactured in the Country in which it is to be used and therefore Pantone paint is only available where a License is approved to manufacture it. Paint for interiors is in some Pantone colours is now available in a number of Countries in Europe.

In the UK some Pantone colours are available as Crown Trade paints in various finishes through Brewers Decorating Centres  , they offer some Pantone Graphics Coated colours in their trade range,

Valspar (UK) Corporation Limited were also a licensee – for more information contact them at or Email: Please note Pantone colours that are available may be limited to current trend colours and not available in all finishes.

How can I buy a Pantone Colour in paint if it is not part of the pre mixed range?

You will need to purchase a colour standard for the required colour. This can be a Pantone book or a Replacement Page for a Pantone book or even a fabric swatch (depending on the Pantone range your colour is from). VeriVide can sell you the correct colour sample to provide the standard for paint matching.

Once you have the colour target (standard) you need to identify a paint wholesaler with colour mixing equipment. They can measure the colour, formulate the pigments required and mix paint to match the specific colour.

How can I find out which Interiors colours are on trend?

Find out which Interiors colours are currently on trend by consulting the Pantone trend publications.

Please head over to our Trend Forecasting section, where you will be able to purchase the latest Pantone trend books. The latest issue of VIEWPOINT COLOUR is currently available. This contains Autumn/Winter 2024/2025 colour forecasts, trend-led colour changes and much more, for only £75.

The Pantone View Home & Interiors is a trend book published annually; Usually launched in March, it contains the trends for the following year. The 2024 volume is available to buy now and features colour directions. Additionally the book is available in a kit with swatches of the featured colours in either fabric or plastic material.

Please email us at if you would like to purchase the latest trend book.

I want the Pantone View Home & Interiors but I also need swatches of colour

It is possible to purchase Home & Interiors swatches.

Pantone Connect software enables selection of colours from the Pantone, Home +Interiors range. These colours are available as individual SMART swatches and can be purchased separately for you to send to clients or suppliers.

The Pantone View Home & Interiors trend book, published annually, is also available in a kit. The kit has two versions, fabric swatches of the featured colours for soft furnishings or plastic chips for hard goods.


I am creating a range from mixed materials, how can I ensure they match?

If you are using mixed materials to create a homeware or accessory range there is a challenge to colour match the hard and soft goods to match or coordinate. The mixed materials in the Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors colour range facilitates excellent colour matching.

When producing soft and hard goods for the same range we recommend that the soft goods are matched to cotton TCX SMART swatch standards and the hard goods to Pantone Plastic Standard Chips which replicate the cotton TCX colour range on large Polypropylene chips. The same colours are available in both materials.

Pantone Plastic Standard Chips are available in the Fashion, Home + Interiors colours as well as the Graphics Coated colours and can be purchased individually, for more information please contact

Alternatively the Fashion, Home & Interiors range also includes the Pantone TPG paper books which can also be used for specifying the colour of non-fabric goods, these are in the same colour range as the cotton swatches and are created by coating the non optic paper rather than printing for a truly opaque finish. Individual colours are also available as large TPG sheets.

Please note applying the same colour to different materials may cause different colour appearances due to surface construction, reflectance and other variables.

What does the Pantone numbering system mean?

Pantone numbering varies according to the Pantone range.

Pantone PMS

Most Pantone PMS system colours are referred to using a three or four-digit number followed by a C or U. There are also a small number of named colours, including the 18 base ink colours. Examples include PANTONE Reflex Blue or PANTONE Orange 021 which are named after the pigment. Greys and Blacks also have a name and the number changes as the depth and tone of the colour changes. For example there are 11 different Cool Gray colours.

Metallic colours are 3 or 4 digit numbers beginning with an 8, Packaging Metallic colours are 5 digit numbers beginning with 10 and Pastel & Neon colours are 3 or 4 digit numbers beginning with 8 or 9.
The letter suffix refers to the paper stock on which it is printed. “C” for coated or gloss paper or “U” for uncoated paper. Metallic colours are only available on coated paper.

The Pantone CMYK book has a different numbering system. Numbers begin P and each page in the book contains 16 versions of a colour. For example, page 103 is a blue shade and the variations are numbered P 103-1 through to P 103-16.

Pantone Fashion, Home + Interior

The Pantone Fashion, Home + Interior system uses a numbering system based on the position of the colour in 3d LCH colour space. Consequently each colour is assigned a six-digit number with each pair of numbers corresponding to one of the attributes. Lightness is represented by the first pair of digits on a scale between 11 (lightest) and 19 (darkest).
Hue is specified by the second pair of digits on a scale between 01 and 65 going around the hue circle. Approximately 10 is yellow, 15 is orange, 20 is red, 30 is purple, 40 is blue, 50 is blue/green and 60 is green. Likewise the Chroma is described by the third pair of digits from 00 for neutral to 64 for the brightest colour.

How can I find the closest Pantone colour to CMYK/RGB/HTML/L*a*b* values?

To find the closest Pantone colour to CMYK/RGB/HTML/L*a*b* values use a physical book or Pantone Connect software.

If your supplier provides CMYK, RGB, Hex or L*a*b* values to colour match instead of a colour standard you can convert to the closest Pantone colour.

It is possible to look up some data in Pantone Graphics books. The Pantone CMYK Guide provides CMYK values for every colour in the Guide. Likewise the Pantone Color Bridges provide RGB and HTML codes for the Pantone PMS spot colours and CMYK values for the closest colour match to these in 4-color process printing.

For digital design Pantone Connect enables the conversion, you can search, sort, and filter efficiently through all Pantone colours and libraries and convert RGB, Hex, CMYK, and L*a*b* values to closest Pantone matches.

Pantone Connect allows import of all Pantone libraries into Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. Once the colours are imported it is possible to search for the closest colour to the supplied data.

Photoshop will default to the closest mathematical colour. The steps to do this are as follows:

  1. From the main toolbar, click the foreground/background colour square to launch the Adobe Colour Picker
  2. Type the desired values into the text boxes provided. Note the change in colour on the picker window.
  3. Click the Colour Libraries button
  4. Select your desired Pantone library from the drop list
  5. Photoshop will display a range of seven colours, with one colour outlined with a black border. This is the default colour which is closest to the values entered
  6. It is important to note that the above results are mathematical, and are also dependent upon the colour settings used in Photoshop. Results should always be compared to a current Pantone guide or book to ensure accurate colour.

How can I update Adobe design with Pantone colours?

With Pantone Connect you are able to integrate Abode design software with Pantone Colours from every Pantone library easily into your design files. Some features in the Pantone Connect software are free but cross referencing between ranges and import of colours into Adobe requires a Premium licence. Use of Pantone Connect requires a user to sign up for an account which is then available to them on all of their devices. With Pantone Connect it is possible to:
Search, sort, and filter efficiently through all Pantone colours and libraries
Convert RGB, Hex, CMYK, and L*a*b* values to closest Pantone matches
Cross-reference between Pantone Colour Systems
Create and share colour palettes with your team to facilitate better colour communication and collaboration