Most clients, graphic designers and printers around the world know what PMS means. No, not that PMS… the Pantone Matching System by Pantone, one of the world’s largest color standardization organizations.
The magic of Pantone is it’s universality. Using numbering systems geared to specific needs (print, digital, industrial design, fashion and home, architecture and interiors, etc.), the designer, client and product manufacturers can all speak the same language… at least in terms of color.
In today’s print industry, for example, your graphic designer produces a design using their favorite design program which has several Pantone color palettes preinstalled. There are palettes for 4-color printing and for Pantone ink colors, including regular colors, metallics, fluorescents, etc. Pantone publishes its ink formulas which are then used by both ink manufacturers and printing firms when making inks. So one color specification (the PMS number) can follow a project from idea to final product.
Once you choose a Pantone color for print, it can be cross-referenced with Pantone colors developed specifically for fashion and home, architecture and interiors, and plastics.
For some design inspiration, take a look at Pantone Universe, Pantone’s webzine (Pantone sites make heavy use of Flash, so they may take a while to open). And if you want to have some fun, check out Colorstrology, a unique site sponsored by Pantone, to find your special colors and color your life.