Pantone Extended Gamut Color Guide

Did you know that almost 90% of bad product reviews and judgements are due to product/design color alone? After all, it is a well-known fact of color psychology that different colors incite different emotive states. This is why brands pay so much attention to color (among other things) and using color schemes the right way, based on the message they want to send.

That being said, more and more creative agencies are trying to come up with the ‘perfect’ color schemes and related swatches. These can then be used by interior designers, graphics artists and other creatives for their products.

However, just like everything else, this is a little more complicated than it seems.

Since color means a lot—and is probably one of the starting factors that decides whether a finished product is really ‘finished’ or not—more customizable options are being invented by creative agencies to make the whole ‘which color do I use for my product’ process more efficient. The more choices you have, the more difficult it becomes to decide on a single thing.

But what if you could actually make fast, cost-effective, time-effective and super-efficient decisions as far as product color is concerned? Because these are exactly the goals Pantone Extended Gamut Coated Guide is here to achieve!

The popularity of extended gamut printing is increasing day by day. More consumerism today means more produce, obviously. And the greater the produce, the greater the need for color schemes, such as those offered by Pantone’s EGC (extended color gamut). Thanks to Pantone’s EGC, printers and designers today possess a dynamic visual guide to identify how closely one color matches another by using Pantone EGC’s 7-color process instead of spot inks.

What are Pantone Guides anyway?

Color guides are Pantone’s primary products. Their specialty, of sorts. These guides comprise of many small thin cardboard sheets. They measure approximately 6×2 inches or 15×5 cm. And they are printed on one side with a series of related color swatches and bound into a small fan deck. For example, a specific ‘page’ might contain a number of reds in varying shades.

This color guide is also called the Pantone Matching System, or PMS for short. PMS and Pantone are basically the same thing by the way.

Using PMS

The aim of PMS is to allow designers to ‘color match; specific colors when a design enters production phase. This is independent of the equipment being used to produce that color. But mostly, there are printers and computer design and/or color softwares that are fed a PMS color to be printed on a product.

Please note that Pantone recommends PMS color guides to be purchased annually. This is because their inks turn yellowish over time.

Not just for designers…

This system of ‘color matching’ is widely adopted by creatives such as graphic designers and reproduction and printing houses. However, graphic artists, interior decorators, magazine agencies, shopping outlets etc. also make use of EGC printing. After all, this is the digital age. Things like colored, printed fliers are more common than handmade ones.

Although this is not the end of it. If you have purchased/will be purchasing Pantone Extended Gamut Color Guide, you can redesign your whole house with just this single handheld deck! Excluding choices related to the design, layout, construction, furniture and other such interior design elements, you have the color-related decisions covered with this guide.

Even if your designer/decorator/renovator is not clear, the guide will save your day. All you have to do is show them the standard color you want, let’s say, your living room repainted in. Finding that color paint would be a matter of time and effort only. Since this Pantone guide contains ‘standard’ colors, you can be sure to come across those colors from common hardware and paint stores around your block.

Painters who run their own businesses and/or startups while sitting at home, can also use this guide to communicate their color needs to respective departments in the final, finishing and packaging stage of their products.

Why you should opt for PMS’s 7/c instead of Standard 4/c RGBs (process printing versus spot printing)

According to multiple vendor claims, 4/c printing can usually hit about 65% of the Pantone book, but 7/c printing covers 90% of the Pantone colors.

Everyone knows there are uncountable variations of a single color. Choosing from such a large collection can be quite overwhelming and tiresome. And to make things more complicated, there are further variations of WHY a color might vary.

This is why a standard is needed. Such a standard would not only help creatives narrow down their color choices. But it also allows for every creative around the world to talk about and refer to the same color without there being any confusion over which color variation is being discussed.

Pantone’s EGC has invented that standard. And it solves all your color problems.

How Pantone standardizes colors is by expanding on the CMYK process. This it has derived inks of more colors using the basic CMYK ones i.e. cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The result is 4 primary colored inks with 3 derivatives. This is the 7/c color ink scheme that printers and computer softwares recognize today, or the seven-color process, in other words. It is more productive and dynamic than the simple four-color ink process, or the RGBs (red, green and blue color inks). One such use is standardizing colors in the CMYK process. A majority of the world’s printed material is produced using the CMYK process, and there is a special subset of Pantone colors that can be reproduced using CMYK. Those that are possible to simulate through the CMYK process are labeled as such within the company’s guides.

This standard focuses on process printing rather than spot printing. In the former, there are variations of a single color (also thought of as ‘processes,’) whereas in the latter, there are clear, distinct and single colors to choose from (‘spots,’ in other words). That is what they mean by the ‘process’ in CMYK process and by ‘spot’ in RGB spot ink printing.

So, the punchline here is that with Pantone EGC, you have a wider array of colors to choose from. And what’s more is that the Guide comes with an effective, accurate method of naming so that everyone can talk about the same color from different locations.

The naming system in this Pantone EGC is explained below.

Features of Pantone’s EGC

Recently, costs and complexity on choosing color for product needs have decreased. The continuous development of digital workflows and technologies is blending together to create renewed interest. Matthew Serwin, Graphic Arts Sales Specialist at Spicers Canada, explains. “Today, shops are running integrated color management and process control. They can have end-to-end digital workflows, supporting upfront tools.” This is a crucial factor in the success of Pantone’s EGC today.

Pantone has started a new creative wave in the world of color and design. And following are the main, amazing features which have enabled it to accomplish that:

  • Color naming, arrangement and identification on the guide:
  1. We’ve been stressing about the fact that anyone, anywhere in the world, can talk about the same color and hence be on the same page about Pantone’s EGC colors. But how? For this, Pantone has devised a genius yet simple system for naming of colors in the EGC. To identify a color, Pantone Process Color numbers start with the letter P. This is followed by a number containing 1-3 digits in it, a dash and then another number containing 1-2 digits. There is also a ‘C’ suffix that refers to ‘coated’ stock, while a ‘U’ refers to uncoated. This entire code next to a color is its name on the Pantone EGC. You simply provide the code to your printing partner and they know instantly which color you are talking about. Isn’t that neat!
  2. Color arrangement: Colors are arranged in chromatic format in the guide, with an index given at the back of the guide, which indicates numeric location.
  3. The Pantone ‘extended’ color gamut guide is called that for a reason. Because now, Pantone has introduced 1,729 Pantone spot colors simulated using CMYK+OGV base inks. And this is the extended part; Pantone has extended its 1,114 standardized colors. Thus the extended guide now contains 1,729 of them!
  4. Furthermore, seven-color process (CMYK+OGV) and RGB values for each color are included in the guide.
  5. Not more than 3 base ink colors are used in formulas present in the guide. Thus, they can be easily reproduced and printed on your products by most color presses and printing agencies these days.
  • Format and body of the guide:
  1. The guide is constructed in a light-weight, portable, handheld fan deck.
  2. It is printed to ISO Certification to allow colors to be consistently reproduced.
  3. The most commonly used coated paper stock weight (100 lb) has been used to print this guide.
  • Applications of the guide:
  1. The Pantone Extended Gamut Color Guide can be used for process printing, marketing materials, packaging, signage and so much more.
  2. It achieves the closest possible process-printing match to Pantone spot colors.
  3. There are more vibrant, accurate, and reproducible colors in this guide compared to those present in traditional CMYK printing.
  4. With this guide, you can fully reap the benefits of process-printing with lower costs and a shorter turn-around time than spot color printing.

Pricing and Variations

The official Pantone Extended Gamut Color Guide is being offered right now at a special discounted price of $72.50 U.S. It was originally offered at a price of $145.00 U.S. There are other versions available of the guide from the official Pantone store, too. Following is a list of other similar Pantone guides, alongside their color features and prices:

  1. CMYK Guide – Coated & Uncoated ($165.00)
  2. Formula Guide – Coated & Uncoated ($179.00)
  3. Color Bridge Guide Set – Coated & Uncoated; Translate Pantone Colors into CMYK, HTML, RGB ($360.00)
  4. Coated Combo – Best-selling Graphics Guides on Coated Stock ($269.00)

Do More with Less

Do more with less. And save more with less. Because with Pantone’s Extended Gamut Color Guide, you save on time, effort, expenses; while at the same benefitting in increased accuracy, efficiency and productivity. But most of all, an increased communication among other designers/artists and with your printing agency about your exact color needs. Pantone’s EGC is compact…in every sense.

Pantone sees additional and future value in licensing and communication. As Cary Sherburne reported in, Pantone GM/SVP Ron Potesky’s explained, “we know that brands and designers want to specify their brand colors using the Pantone language, and this is a great way for them to determine how best their brand colors can be produced”. Pantone sees the ECG as a valuable extension to their product line, and by helping to develop a common language to communicate 7/c, which could help drive ECG markets.

Further Technicalities to Keep in Mind before Choosing Your Pantone Color

Before you decide to refer to Pantone’s EGC for your product’s color needs, make sure you are brushed up on a few concepts and technical details, such as the following:

  1. What is gamut printing, exactly?

A gamut is the term given to the range of colors that a color device can print and/or display. This range exists because a color that may be displayed on your monitor in RGB may not be printable in the gamut of your CMYK printer.

  1. What is extended gamut printing, then?

Referred to as extended gamut or expanded gamut, seven-color printing (also known as EG) is a process of adding more colors (included, but not limited to, orange, green and violet) to a conventional and commonly used four-color process setup. So, essentially, printing in an extended or expanded gamut means that packaging is not printed in a combination of CMYK and spot inks. This implies the printing press will be standardized on CMYK + 2 or 3 extra inks (e.g. orange/green/blue). Such extra colors are added to the traditional CMYK range so that printers can achieve better, more accurate color printing while reducing inks costs. Furthermore, this method increases printing quality and consistency. And this, in turn, fulfils brand owners’ needs, who look for reduced costs without compromising on accuracy and quality of color printing.

  1. What does a color gamut mean?

A color gamut represents a range of colors within the spectrum of colors that are identifiable by the human eye i.e. the visible color spectrum.

  1. Why are Pantone colors important?

They are increasingly important for color consistency and allow designers to ‘color match’ specific colors when they have designs that are beginning to enter the production stage – no matter what tool is being used to print or what object a color has to be printed on.

  1. What are out-of-gamut colors?

The phrase ‘out of gamut’ refers to a range of colors that cannot be reproduced from the CMYK color scheme used in commercial printing and press. Ultimately, graphic softwares are designed to work with images in the RGB color space throughout the editing process in such a case.

  1. What is the difference between coated and uncoated Pantone colors?

A coated Pantone paper has a shiny gloss coating. In printing, the ink rests itself above the layer of coating. Thus minimal ink absorption takes place. However, an uncoated paper has no surface coating, therefore allowing maximum ink absorption into the paper. Consequently, the same Pantone color printed on coated and uncoated paper will have quite a different visual appearance.

  1. How do I find my Pantone Color?

Select window > color and swatches. Color box reveals your pantone reference, for example: Pantone 2975C (C = coated, U = uncoated). If the color box does not give you a pantone reference, it will show a CMYK breakdown. If you want a Pantone color, consider referring to your creative/printing agency for further assistance in helping you to find the closest match.

  1. What does 7/c and 4/c stand for?

4/c means four-color printing, consisting of the 4 main primary colors i.e. red, green, blue and orange/yellow. 7/c refers to seven-color printing, where the 4 primary colors are the CMYK colors and the other 3 are derivatives of those 4 CMYK colors. Today, in most printing agencies, the 7/c color printing method is used. Furthermore, it should be noted that 7/c is process printing, whereby the seven colors are organized in such a way that one ‘gives way’ to the other…culminating in a spectrum, a process. But in the case of 4/c printing, the colors are arranged as distinct ‘spots’ in the form of boxes and there is no spectrum.

To Conclude…

Whether you’re a professional or an amateur in any creative field, the Pantone Extended Gamut Color Guide makes the task easier for everyone alike! Thanks to this guide, you get to do more with less, while ensuring highest productivity and accuracy for your product’s color needs.


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