Basic colour

The term basic colour is mostly used in connection with the Pantone Matching System. The Pantone colours – since 2014 a total of 1755 colours – are mixed from 18 PANTONE basic colours in different mixing ratios. The 14 original basic colours had a four colour extension  after the abolition of PANTONE GOE. These four new basic colours are PANTONE colours themselves, but are just as well used for mixing other PANTONE colours.


2007 PANTONE introduced the GOE color system with more than 2,000 colors, which was originally intended to replace the Pantone Matching System PMS. It was discontinued in February 2014 by Pantone and no longer exists in the market.

The advantages of Pantone GOE were obvious:

  • With 2056 colors, it included nearly twice as much color as the Pantone Matching System with only 1,114 colors
  • The colors could be made of only 10 basic colors
  • The layer thickness of GOE was uniformly 1.3 gr / sqm and was so for printing more manageable than the sometimes very different layer thicknesses of the PMS
  • A GOE color was mixed from a maximum of two basic colors and Pantone or PMS Black Clear. The formulations were uniform and clear.
  • The color arrangement in the subjects was logically divided chromatically:
    • The first number was for the color family
    • the second number was for the subjects page within the family
    • the third number stood for the position on the fan page: 1 has always been the highest and brightest color, 7 the lowest and darkest color

Despite a lot of effort, Pantone GOE found little spread. While in 2008 GOE was integrated into all main software products such as Quark Xpress or the Adobe range, commercial printing companies usually denied the use of Pantone GOE. They simply didn’t understand the need for two different PANTONE systems with twice the costs for ink storage etc.

Pantone responded by extending the PMS with over 600 new colors to its current 1755 colors (03/2014). Pantone GOE has been discontinued in 2014, which hardly anybody noticed as GOE never was able to capture a significant market share.



Pantone Matching System: The proven PANTONE Matching System has been renamed 2010 in “Pantone Plus Series” and supplemented with 224 colors. In 2012, another 336 new colors were added. In 2014 Pantone Plus Series has again been supplemented by a further 84 new colors.

Currently, the Pantone Plus Series has 1755 colors, which are created from 18 Pantone Plus Series base colors.


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