Why do the Embroidery Thread Colors are Different from my Provided PMS Colors?

The colors on a device screen always look different from the original product colors. It is due to device display settings, camera quality and settings, studio lighting settings, and the photographer’s ability to take a picture.

There is no way to match actual product colors with on-screen colors. If you need to 100% match thread colors, use a physical Pantone book. You can’t just Google a PMS color and send it to your decorator/embroiderer.

If you visit https://www.pantone.com/ and find a color that you think is perfect for your project, this color may look totally different on your decorator’s end. Your decorator uses a physical PMS book to make colors. See the following images:


For example, Nancy needs a PMS code for a color (Red); she Googles and finds this Pantone red 199 C. She sends this color to her embroiderer.

The embroiderer matches this color (PMS 199 C) with their embroidery thread using their physical Pantone color book. (the only correct way)

The patch manufacturer sends the embroidered patches to her; she finds a difference in color. She matches the patches’ color with her screen colors.

The patch maker matches the embroidered patch thread color with a physical Pantone book. The embroidered patch color is very close to PMS 199 C.

This image shows the difference between a PMS book color and a PMS color on a computer screen. PMS colors always look different on a device screen.

Embroiderers try to match thread colors as close as possible, but they can’t exactly match each PMS color in embroidery. Why? This is because the biggest embroidery thread manufacturer, “Madeira,” offers less than 400 viscose thread colors.

Pantone Matching System (PMS) offers 2161 colors. So embroiderers have one thread color for every six PMS colors. You can buy a Madeira thread color card from their website if you need to see thread color choices. Click here to purchase a color card

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