Pantone is a color matching system that was created so that colors can remain consistent no matter what medium is being used to view them. Color is interesting in the fact that it is highly subjective; what one person views as yellow, another may view as orange for example. Now, with the many different types of technologies we have to view colors, it is very important that each of them use the same colors. The Pantone matching system, PMS, is not the only system that exists for maintaining color consistency. It is, however, the most widely used.
A commercial printing company will keep a full supply of Pantone inks in their shops in order to ensure that they always remain consistent in the colors that they use for their printing projects. Take for example, a company that has a logo designed for them in a certain palette of colors. Then, they take this logo to a commercial printer to have some brochures posted. They want the logo on the brochures to match the same colors as the original. Imagine if when they got the completed brochures, that the logo used a completely different palette of colors?
Pantone colors are based on certain recipes that can be created by mixing together certain colors. Some cannot be created by mixing however, and must be purchased. These include colors such as metallics and fluorescent inks. One of the few problems that is involved is when Pantone colors are attempted during a 4 color printing process. This will not create accurate results. The only way that this can be accomplished successfully is to add Pantone as a fifth color which can be quite expensive. The 4 color printing process uses only the colors of magenta, cyan, yellow, and black, which is not enough to create a true Pantone color.