Design for Better Printing: Pantone Matching

Posted on Oct 5, 2016 in Custom Display, Design, News, nSights, Show Services
Design for Better Printing: Pantone Matching

When working with large format print, there are a number of design considerations that can make your project easier, and create a much better looking result. This is the fourth in a series of posts that will explore some of these considerations from an expert perspective. We hope these posts will help you gain an understanding of ways to make your future trade show booth even more eye-catching.

You’ve spent a good deal of time and money building your brand and making it memorable to your customers. As you know, one key branding element is consistent use of color. So how can you ensure that the vibrant brand colors you’re seeing on your computer screen translate to the large format printing for your trade show display?

The most common way of keeping brand colors uniform is the Pantone Matching System (PMS). Even when you’re not printing with Pantone inks, using the Pantone color numbers provides a standardized target for a color match. In fact, some of our print solutions have Pantone Digital Color software built in for a very accurate match.

The key to Pantone matching is a book of swatches where you can select from a wide array of colors. Rather than trying to describe your color, you can provide the number (or name) and they can reference their color book to see how you intend the result to look. This makes it easy to ensure that, from your corporate headquarters on the other side of the globe, to your ad agency on the other side of the country, and down to the Nichols team when we print your image for your booth, we all have the same expectations for how your primary brand colors should look.

It’s important to specify your Pantone colors in the file when you build your artwork. This allows us to perform a color match to get the exact look you want. But keep in mind that only vector content can be color matched.

Some tips to help you specify your Pantone colors:

Adobe Illustrator files

When you set up your files in Adobe Illustrator, you can load the Pantone color book from the Window menu (Window — Swatch Libraries — Color Books — PANTONE + Solid Coated). The Pantone swatches will default to Global Color, which will allow us to adjust them if necessary. The goal is always to print the best match on the specific printer and material that will be used.




Adobe InDesign

In Adobe InDesign, you can change your existing swatch to a PMS swatch under the Swatch Options dialog (Double-click your swatch in the Swatches window). Change the ‘Color Type’ to ‘Spot’ and ‘Color Mode’ to ‘PANTONE + Solid Coated.’ You can then select your PMS Swatch from the list that will appear. If you have multiple swatches that you intend to be the same PMS color, it is helpful to merge them prior to setting them as a PMS swatch.




With so many details to consider for large format printing, expert guidance can be a big help.

When you need graphic assistance for your trade show display, contact us at

We’re with you, every step of the way!

Team Nichols