What is the difference between Pantone C and U?

Pantone Paint Colors

Pantone colors often contain a color number or name followed by a "C" or "U". The "C" or "U" at the end of Pantone color numbers indicate whether a coated or uncoated paper stock is used for the printing process.

Pantone C vs U Colors

While the C and U versions contain the same number, they should be treated as different colors as they often look very different. “C” colors tend to be more vibrant and richer while “U” colors tend to appear more muted.


Coated/glossy papers prevent the ink from absorbing into the paper. The ink dries on the surface leaving the color looking more vibrant. The glossy finish underneath also reflects more light through the color adding to the vibrancy.


Uncoated stock is more porous and the ink is absorbed into paper leaving it look more dull.


Even though the same inks may be used to create each color, the type of stock used affects the color. If a C or U isn’t specified, the default is typically C as U is not commonly used. However, if possible it is important to confirm the required version since the colors are different.

Common uses for Pantone colors are paint for signs, displays and exhibit fabrication, paint for prototyping, paint for short run production and photo shoots. The most popular applicator is custom spray paint.

Browse Pantone Paint Colors here.