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Pantone and HKS: Two Spot Color Systems

Pantone and HKS: Two Spot Color Systems

pantone color vs hks color
Table of Contents

If you want to print a certain color but only want to use one printing ink, you use a spot color. Spot colors are primarily used when you want to print certain colors that are hard to reproduce with regular four-color print or if for some other reason you want to avoid screen percent value combinations with four-color print. Pantone and HKS are two systems for spot color. The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a useful but somewhat inaccurate way of describing colors. Pantone colors often are specified for a company’s color profile and logotype, to ensure consistency, and are very commonly used when printing packaging.

What is Pantone Color ?

The Pantone model is based on the combination of nine different colors that were selected on the basis of their usability and hue. Every shade in the system is composed of a defined combination of the nine basic colors. The colors have been named according to a number system that makes it easy to select a shade, and the Pantone system incorporates a total of 114 different colors. Pantone sells color guides printed on different papers and other materials so you can choose the color you want or see how a certain Pantone color will look on a given material.

pantone color printing
Pantone Color

Pantone to CMYK

A color model such as Pantone, which uses unique pigment combinations for each color, has a greater ability to depict saturated colors. For example, a light yellow color in a Pantone model actually is a light yellow pigment–you don’t have to fool the eye with screen percent values, as with the CMYK model. When converting from Pantone to CMYK, be aware that you cannot re-create all the colors from the Pantone model.

A typical example is when you print an advertisement in a newspaper. As a rule, newspaper printers can only do four-color printing, even if colors are normally defined in Pantone colors. To predict how a Pantone color will look when it is printed in four-color, Pantone has produced special Pantone-to- CMYK guides. These contain Pantone colors printed with Pantone inks next to their corresponding four-color example so that you can see the differences clearly. Some colors remain quite similar, while others vary greatly–for example, blue, green, and orange hues.

What is HKS ?

HKS is a color system that, like Pantone, is based on different pigment combinations for each color. It is mainly used in Germany, where it is morecommon than Pantone. The HKS system is based on 88 physical colors, each with 39 shades, totaling 3,520 colors. Exactly like the Pantone system, there are printed color guides on coated and uncoated papers, and each color has its corresponding number.

hks color
HKS Color
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Tony Gao

Business Director at Epack Printing Ltd, excels in blending brand storytelling with sustainable packaging solutions. Recognized as an innovator in the packaging industry.

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