/PANTONE 2017 (China)
/PANTONE 2017 (China)

Did you know? Updating Your Pantone Guides Can Save You Valuable Production Time And Money!


Did you know?

Updating Your Pantone Guides Can Save You Valuable Production Time And Money!

10 October 2018

If you haven’t updated your Pantone Guides and Chip Books for several years, you aren’t just missing opportunities to build your brand and enhance your product lines with the latest color additions. You are also likely viewing faded, yellowed, or otherwise inaccurate color, meaning the color that you’re looking at isn’t necessarily the same as what your vendors are seeing – or the same as what will be produced. This can lead to a lot of extra rework, time, and money.

When you, your supply chain, or your manufacturing partners are making color critical decisions – like reviewing press proofs or production samples – working from up-to-date guides and chip books can avoid a lot of headaches, such as:

  • Miscommunication
  • Multiple rounds of re-sampling
  • Freight costs for re-shipping physical proofs
  • On-press validation visits, equaling resource, time, and travel expenditure
  • Frustration
  • On-time launch or delivery risk

Here are some reasons why:

Aging and Usage Effects: Is My Color Still Accurate?

Pantone Guides and Books are produced and measured against high manufacturing standards. With each publication, you can appreciate:

  • Highly-regulated ink formula consistency and overall printed quality
  • During production, we sample each print run once every 200 sheets aiming at a CIEDE2000 of 2.0 or less, with an attainment rate of 96% in 2018
  • Printed on popular commercial-grade 100 lb. and 80 lb. text weight paper stocks
  • Colors visually and digitally aligned to the 2010 Pantone Master Standards
A comparison of an out-of-date Pantone Formula Guide and a current Pantone Formula Guide

Despite all of this, no printed product can last forever. The colors in your Pantone Guide or Chip Book may appear inaccurate over time as a result of handling, fading, improper storage, and light exposure, among other factors. This is why we recommend replacing your guides every 12-18 months, depending on your usage case and storage habits.

  • 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 color variation, especially in lighter and pastel colors

Are you short on color?

Since we launched the Pantone Plus Series back in 2010, there have been three color collection additions. Check out the chart below – you could be missing over 750 colors!

A comparision of Pantone Formula Guides from 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 A comparision of Pantone Formula Guides from 2010 A comparision of Pantone Formula Guides from 2012 A comparision of Pantone Formula Guides from 2014 A comparision of Pantone Formula Guides from 2016

Missing colors could mean lost time locating the colors that your clients and brands might be asking for that should be right at your fingertips. Also, remember that the colors we add are often derived from trend forecasting and market demand, which means keeping up with what’s relevant and important in today’s world.

Production Guides: Is My Vendor Looking At The Same Color?

As shown above, if your guide is new but your printer’s guide is even just a few years older, then your colors may no longer accurately match, which can cause unnecessary frustration, costs, and delays. Encouraging your manufacturing and supply chain partners to also keep their guides up to date can help mitigate this situation. However, this is often easier said than done, and knowing this, Pantone recommends that you always accompany your artwork and design files with a physical representation of your desired color as the precise color intent to strive for on-press.

Our Solid Chips and On-Demand Prints are designed to help you easily communicate your desired colors, as they illustrate Pantone Matching System® (PMS) Spot Colors in perforated or sticker formats that can be sent to vendors with design specifications.

Pantone Solid Chips Coated and Uncoated

Solid Chips To The Rescue!

If you’re concerned your production partners’ guides aren’t current then we recommend Pantone Solid Chips always accompany artwork to ensure color accuracy.

Solid Chips are an excellent tool for color communication because:

  • When attached to artwork files, they instantly depict specific color expectation and intent
  • They are perfect for easily shipping and sharing
  • They give your printer a physical representation of the color to strive for on-press
  • They are sold as multiple chips per color and are easy to replace

In Summary...


Color guides age, which means you aren’t accurately seeing the color you’re designing with and referencing in an older book. Pantone recommends replacing your guides every 12-18 months.

Talk to your production partners:

Even with updated guides on your end, who knows how long your production partners have been referencing the same old guide. Ask your partners to replace their guides every year or send them a physical color reference like Solid Chips, Sticker Chips, or Super Chips so there are no misunderstandings.

Show up fully prepared:

Make sure you have all of the current, most up-to-date, accurate colors ready when your clients ask.

Contact us on +44 (0)1233 225 450 with any questions.