Spring is in the Air!  I know this will sound odd, but I can tell it is, by the type of questions our customers have been asking the past 2 weeks.  Seems like everyone wants to know the PANTONE® value of a variety of pastel shades.  Last week I was asked for pink, daffodil, orchid, and periwinkle.   Customers are sending out spring mailings. Many are using pastel colored envelopes and including printed components that need to match.


Domtar’s EarthChoice® ColorsTM and HOTS® are not run to standard PANTONE colors.  For some colors, there is a close match that can be used as a starting point for creating a match color.  Daffodil, for example, is close to 120U.  Other colors may not have a PANTONE color that is suitable for use as a starting point for color matching, but CMYK coordinates are available.


CMYK or RGB values may be useful in matching an ink to a paper, but I caution you to consider these other factors when formulating an ink to match a shade of paper (regardless of your starting point):

  • Don’t rely on your computer monitor to accurately depict color. Colors viewed this way are simulations of the actual color and may display differently on different monitors.
  • Use on-line CMYK/RGB/Hex conversion programs, but only as a starting point for ink color formulation. Different programs may provide slightly different conversions and create slightly different hues.
  • Most pastel match colors are formulated with a high percentage of transparent white ink. The base paper color will impact the way your color appears. If using a match color, request a drawdown on your substrate

It is important to be on-site for a press check when running pastel match colors. Because the inks are transparent, paper fibers may show through and coverage may not look the way you envisioned.  You need to determine if the ink, as formulated, looks the way you want it to look.

  • If it is not “strong” enough consider double bumping.
  • Reformulating with opaque white will provide better coverage of the base paper but will result in an overall hue shift in the ink color, so consider this as a last option.
  • Building your color out of process colors may allow you to create the color you desire. Any shift in registration, however, will change your color.


Whether your goal is to incorporate a touch of Spring with paper or ink, keep these tips in mind to make sure your pastel printed piece is a winner! If you need design inspiration, be sure to visit our Blueline Gallery.