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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.

*MyPerfectColor uses proprietary paints to create or match any color imaginable. MyPerfectColor has matched the colors on this page based on the color specifications of the original. Select a color to see MyPerfectColor's duplication of the colors you desire. Please note that since the paint used to match this color is unique to MyPerfectColor, the finish of the paint may vary from the original. Please note that, other than RAL and Pantone, MyPerfectColor is not offering the actual branded color or paint product for sale and has no affiliation with the color-referenced brands. MyPerfectColor reference to any trademark is for color comparison only. On-screen and printed color representations may vary from actual paint colors. The actual paint color will also vary depending on the specific paint product, application method, gloss level, film variance, surface substrate, age and light source. Please note on small batch size orders, the potential variation of colors is increased.