What are Pantone colors?


Knowledge about Pantone colors is one of the first step, that you should take on your journey as a fashion entrepreneur. When I discuss with clients and associates, it strikes me hard that knowledge on Pantone is very low for most of the young entrepreneurs. This post acts as a medium to impart complete knowledge on the subject.

Pantone colors

Pantone is a  United States based company that is best known for its Pantone matching system, used in a variety of industries. This includes paper printing and fabric dyeing. To differentiate between the two, they are distinguished by the numbering system used in Pantone colors. So TCX stands for colors available in Cotton and TPX stands for colors available in print. So, when you quote us or another manufacturer, or a fashion house to make your garments, use only TCX colors. If this is getting confusing, do not worry, by the end of the post, all your doubts will get cleared.

When more and more colors started entering the fashion world, there was a need to maintain a system that will enable all parties to communicate properly on their needs. There is no “Red” in Fashion. Red can mean dozens of shades, all of which can be significantly different than others. Thus many colour and numbering systems were created that would enable buyers and sellers to coordinate effectively. Pantone color system is one of the most used and prominent amongst them. So, when you quote a color to your manufacturers, that you need Poppy Red 17 – 1664 TCX, they know which shade you want.


Pantone book

Ideally, for large orders, if you order fabric to your manufacturer by specifying a Pantone shade, they should send you a swatch of fabric that they made in their dyeing unit. It looks similar to the image on your left. After you have confirmed and are happy with the swatch of fabric given, you should proceed with the order. This should be ideal if you are ordering through this manufacturer for the first time. For subsequent orders, if you trust your manufacturer, you can depend on them to give you the right shade, as time is money in fashion.

Check the below image of a Pantone book.

Another advantage of taking a fabric swatch is to test the quality of fabric given to you. Getting a fabric swatch gets a small piece of fabric that is being developed for you, in your hands. You can check the touch and feel of the fabric, and ask questions to your manufacturer if you have any. Please note that Bio Wash is not done separately after dyeing, but is just a chemical that is added during the dyeing process. So, do note that what you get in hand is the final thing.

Selecting Pantone colors can be a daunting task as well, one that even our own customers face when they order custom hoodies from our website! How do you choose between nearly 2200 shades. Also, how do you get access to the shade book? Although it is available online, it is costly. At the time of writing, the cotton passport book is 585$. No, you do not need to spend that amount to buy the book unless you reach figures, where planning a new collection becomes a daily routine. For starters, you can just select the colors on the Pantone website by their Pantone colors finder feature.


Once you start climbing the ladder, that we believe you would, you can order a copy for yourself. At the start it is important for you to just understand how this entire process works.


So, this is it for the day. I hope you gained knowledge on how the fabric development works in the fashion industry. To get more such insightful posts directly in your mailbox, you can subscribe below. No spamming. Only high quality fashion industry secrets and tips.
Images taken from official Pantone website and social media accounts.



Leave a Comment