Reflex Blue. It may be the bane of printers everywhere, but those of us at J2 love Pantone Reflex Blue (#001489) and its deep blue-violet hue. We use it in logos to give them a solid, strong feel (see Mural Arts Philadelphia’s new logo below)—something that can’t be exactly matched by CMYK printing.

Mural Arts Philadelphia logo blue-red

Mike Prestigord, journeyman lithographer at Old York Road Printing gave us a little Reflex Blue tutorial.

  • Reflex Blue is one of the most difficult inks to use as a printer.
  • It’s also one of the most popular pure blue colors in the PMS system.
  • It is one of the 14 Pantone mixing inks that are usually used to build all the other Pantone colors.
  • It gets its color from Alkali Blue pigments, made from cobalt. Other Alkali pigments with similar printing properties:
    • Rhodamine Red – (Y.S. Rhodamine Red)
    • Purple – (B.S. Rhodamine Red)
    • Warm Red – (Red Lake C)
    • Violet – (Methyl Violet)
    • 072 Blue
    • Rubine Red – (Lithol Rubine)
    • Fluorescent inks
  • Because of its porous nature, the pigment structure acts like a sponge.
  • Lighter colors generally dry faster than darker ones—and sometimes Reflex Blue never fully dries.
  • An aqueous coating is needed to keep the ink from smudging, smearing, or chalking off.

Pro tip: Don’t use a UV coating with Reflex Blue—it can fade or change the ink color.

So what did we learn? Before designing with Reflex Blue, take the time to understand your client’s printing needs and turnaround time to ensure that no one is left with blue hands.

pantone reflex blue google search