Pantone & Spot Color

So what is Pantone matching? The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a proprietary method that specifies more than 1,000 printing ink colors. Each Pantone spot color has a unique number.

More about matching later. Just know that, at Rival Screen Printing, we have experts in handling Pantone spot colors, and they love to let their expertise show in the finished product.

So let’s talk about spot color as an approach to printing.

Spot color is a very popular printing choice, particularly for T-shirts. If you like vibrant color, spot is the way to go. On the positive side, creating the artwork is less expensive. On the less-positive side, you need to stick with four colors. If you decide you want more than four, the cost will go up, and you might want to consider another approach.

The benefits of spot color include not only bright colors but also great coverage and standout opacity if you choose darker colors to print on. Further, spot color printing can be significantly less expensive than four-color process printing (see Your screen-printing project: Why CMYK?).

Remember, however, the caveat to that last statement. You can keep costs down as long as you stick with four colors. If your design calls for five or more colors, the cost starts to go up because the additional colors call for a different printing method. In that case, you might want to look into something like simulated process printing (see Your screen-printing project: Why CMYK?).

Importantly—and this is where Pantone matching comes back in—with Pantone colors, what you see is what you get. Your artwork specifies the Pantone spot color you want in a particular area. Pantone matching ensures that the color you specify is the one your printer uses.

On the other hand, if you’re after a more nuanced look, there are some things you can do with spot color to achieve it. For example:

Half-tone printing

Are there really fifty shades of grey? Probably. And you can find out by exploring half-tone printing.

For this kind of printing, you don’t necessarily need four colors to achieve a striking image. You can use as few as one color to create an image that looks like it’s made up of many colors. The key is printing in color gradients. You can get the result you want using only one screen.

One of the important benefits of half-tone printing can be cost savings. You can print images that look like they’re made up of a variety of colors but use only one color, reducing the price of production.

Duotone printing

As the name implies, duotone printing uses two ink colors to produce an image. The process combines two halftones, one black and the other your choice. The result is an image that has the hue of the second color and looks a lot more expensive than it is. It’s as if you’ve used full color.

If you like a sophisticated look, duotone printing could be the way to go. It also gives your printed item a softer feel.

Grayscale printing

If you want to reproduce a full-color image, such as a photo or painting, but would prefer to do it in one color for cost or artistic reasons, grayscale printing could be the answer. It requires just one ink color. And that color can be pretty much whatever you like.

It doesn’t matter how many color tones are in the original full-color image. It can be reproduced in a one-color halftone. If you want your image to be sharper, just tell us, and we’ll increase the number of dots in the pattern.

Grayscale printing works best on light-colored items, such as white T-shirts. You’ll also love the soft feel.

To learn more about working with us and creating guaranteed great screen-printed garments and other items using spot color, contact us. We’d be happy to answer your questions.