Bring your brand to (real) life.

Let’s talk about…PMS
May 5, 2010

I’m guessing that if you are like most people, the title of this blog meant something totally different than what it means at Tactive. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your gender), this post does NOT cover any sort of female physiological or hormonal disorders.  (Or how to avoid crying for 30 minutes straight about the lost dog on tv.)

I’m talking about something much more important to your business, your brand, and your promotions – COLOR!


Rainbow Dog
I’ll never lose you in THIS!


Specifically, the Pantone Matching System (PMS) – a system for correctly matching ink and material colors across a wide variety of applications. Because when you can print anything from a t-shirt, to a business card, to a stress ball, to a pen, to a… holy cow that’s a lot of different ways to print! What if you end up with McDonald’s yellow instead of Burger King gold!?

The answer, my friends, is PMS. (See.. it IS good for something…)

PMS  Color Swatch Book
A PMS Swatch Book


The evolution of the PMS color system is a pretty cool story.  Basically, a guy named Lawrence Herbert, who worked part-time for Pantone Printing and had a chemistry degree from Hofstra, decided to take on the enormous task of organizing the stock of inks and pigments Pantone kept on hand.  Considering the fact that I avoid organizing our small collection of catalogs like they are covered in Anthrax, Larry seems like a pretty ambitious guy.

Mr. Herbert’s system organized colors by shade and assigned each a number. A few decades later, all that ambition led to a $100 Million Dollar company based almost entirely on producing the tools necessary to make sure the Colts stadium cups don’t show up on game-day printed in Patriots blue.

This week, your new word is PMS.  (Okay maybe several words and not really that new for some of you, but “new spin on an old acronym” is a mouthful…)

Have you ever received a product that just wasn’t “kelly green” enough?  Or looked at your logo on your computer and seen Blue instead of the Purple on your business card? Knowing your PMS colors takes the guessing game out of color by ensuring that the printed ink matches your branding. In turn, this protects your brand, and could save you time, money, and a lot of frustration when you order printed products.

For example, one time we ordered some custom putty for a client of ours.  We requested PMS 144 Orange, but when the packages arrived the product looked neon red! Luckily it was just a chemical mistake by the supplier who immediately fixed the problem, replaced the product with the correct color within 24 hours, and apologized profusely – but had we not known what PMS 144 was supposed to look like, this could have been a much costlier mistake!

144 Orange… and… whaaa!?


Do you know your PMS colors? Do you reference them when you place orders with your printing and promotional products company?  Do you have any horror stories of something showing up in the wrong color?

Feel free to share your stories/colors in the comments section!

Later Gators!

P.S. Want to know your PMS colors, but not sure where to start?  See if your company has a Corporate Identity Guide, ask your graphic designer, or heck…. ask us!

P.P.S. Tactive PMS colors are 143 Orange, 653 Blue, and 2602 for Promo Purple