What is the difference between CMYK and PMS Colors?

CMYK Colors

CMYK are the four colors that make up the schema: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. To create an image, printers define four separate plates that make up a full image. One plate is used for each of the colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) and is designed to lay down a very specific amount of pigment on the image.

PMS Colors

PMS colors, which stand for Pantone Matching System, are slightly different than CMYK colors. PMS colors are mixed before being applied to a surface. The PMS color is an ink that is mixed, allowing for a wider range of reproduced colors than what CMYK offers. Each PMS color contains a unique hue, which can be matched by a number associated with the Pantone Matching System of swatches. PMS inks are not laid in a dot pattern but can be screened in a halftone to produce a variety of shades.

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By: Paula Fargo

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