Our letterpress inks are made from an oil or water base, mixed with color pigments. The pigments used depend on the desired hue, and can be lithographic pigments or a combination of several pigments.

To reproduce a specific Pantone color, for each of our prints we use Pantone color charts to determine the exact proportions of each pigment needed to create the desired shade. The pigments are then carefully mixed and tested until the color corresponding to the Pantone shade is obtained.

It’s important to note that Pantone colors cannot be reproduced exactly with ink pigments alone, as they were created using a specific printing system. However, pigment blends can often create Pantone-like colors.

We mainly use three different shades:

Pantone Solid Uncoated: colors are printed on uncoated paper, which means that the paper absorbs the ink, giving the colors a natural, matte appearance. This color system is often used for our uncoated paper ranges, such as letterpress, cotton, cotton luxe, kraft, texture and offset luxe.

Pantone Metallics Solid Coated: A selection of brilliant metallic colors. Pantone Metallics Solid Coated metallic colors are created using metallic pigments in the ink, giving them a shiny, reflective metallic appearance.

Unlike Pantone Solid Uncoated, these colors are normally designed to be printed on coated paper, which means that the ink sits on top of the paper rather than being absorbed. We generally use metallic inks to replace hot stamping (gilding) if the paper substrate is not compatible or the area is too complex to produce.

Pantone Solid Coated: It’s made up of colors that are designed to be printed on a coated substrate, which offers a smoother, brighter surface for the colors. Pantone Solid Coated colors are more saturated and vivid than those of Pantone Solid Uncoated, because the ink sits on top of the paper rather than being absorbed. We only use it to select colors for our metal business card projects or custom projects featuring coated papers or non-porous substrates.

Some examples of Pantone colors corresponding to CMYK color mixtures

1. To obtain a bright red, we can use the CMYK mix 0, 100, 100, 0, which corresponds to Pantone 485 C.

2. To obtain a deep blue, we can use the CMYK mix 100, 80, 0, 0, which corresponds to Pantone 286 C.

3. To obtain a vivid green, we can use the CMYK blend 100, 0, 100, 0, which corresponds to Pantone 802 C.

4. To obtain a bright orange, we can use the CMYK mix 0, 60, 100, 0, which corresponds to Pantone 165 C.

It should be noted that these mixtures are approximations and that conversion between color systems may vary depending on the substrate used. That’s why we systematically check an actual color sample before we start printing, to guarantee precise color matching.

How to send us a Pantone reference

Convert an RGB or Hexa color: use the website

Convert a CMYK color to Pantone: use the website

Find a color: you can select a shade reference on

For professionals

You’re a retailer: if you’re a graphic arts professional, you can buy a Pantone on the brand’s official website. You’ll also need to take out a subscription to Pantone connect, because as of March 2022, Adobe libraries are no longer synchronized.

Spot color printing

Direct-tone printing is the printing technique we use in our workshop. This involves applying the inks we use, which we premix according to standardized formulas such as the Pantone Matching System (PMS). Each PMS color has a unique identification number, so you can obtain a precise match to the desired color. Unlike four-color process printing (CMYK), which uses the four basic colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) to reproduce a wide range of hues, spot color printing uses ready-to-use inks that correspond to specific colors. This technique is best suited when specific colors need to be reproduced with precision. It allows you to obtain vivid, precise colors, without depending on the mixing of base colors.

CMYK printing

In the workshop, for CMYK offset printing, we prepare files in four-color process (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). We then create printing plates for each CMYK color. After preparing the offset press and inking the plates, we transfer the ink onto rubber blankets, then onto the printing substrate. Finally, we dry the ink to achieve precise color reproduction. This process is repeated for each CMYK color.

Four-color printing uses four ink colors (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) printed in the form of millions of tiny, overlapping dots that blend together to create the full spectrum of colors. Also known as the CMYK process, this printing method saves money by limiting the number of printing plates needed for a job to four. But there are certain limits to the specific colors that CMYK inks can create.

Further information

Pantone is an American company founded in 1962 by Lawrence Herbert, a chemist who worked in the printing industry. At the time, it was difficult for printing professionals to agree on the colors to use for a given project, as there was no standardized color matching system.

Herbert therefore developed a color matching system based on numbering and the color mixing formula, enabling print professionals to ensure that colors were the same from one project to the next. The first Pantone system was based on 500 colors and was designed for the cosmetics industry.

Over the years, the Pantone system has grown to include thousands of standardized colors, covering a wide range of sectors, such as the graphics industry, fashion, interior design and more. Pantone’s color matching systems are now used worldwide to guarantee color consistency in printing and design projects.

In addition to its color matching systems, Pantone is also known for its choice of Color of the Year, which is a color that is supposed to represent society’s trends and emotions at any given time. This tradition began in 2000, and every year Pantone announces the color of the year, which often influences trends in the fashion industry, interior design and design in general.

Today, Pantone is a global company providing color and design solutions to thousands of customers worldwide.