You just purchased a new heat press machine and now it’s time to place your first order for custom screen-print heat transfers. Your customer’s logo is so unique,it has a color which is not a standard ink color. Now what?  

In many cases, most heat transfer orders are simple 1, 2 colors. Most colors are either white or black, sometimes both. Some logos or artwork may have a specific Pantone® color.

In this article, we will discuss how choosing custom ink colors will make your first order sail through smoothly.

Example of Stock ink color with Pantone® numbers

You may notice when looking at the available stock ink colors, many of the colors have a unique number below the name of the color. Most manufacturers of custom screen-print heat transfers use a system known as Pantone® Color matching to identify the specific ink color. If you stop and think about the many variations of red, blue, yellow or green, you will quickly realize that trying to describe them is not an easy task.


The Pantone® color book is an essential tool to have in your business. Having this tool will save you money by getting the exact color you want.

Choosing custom ink colors – The color I order looks different than what’s on my computer screen?

This happens to so many new heat transfer customers. When they prepare their artwork, they fail to realize Ink colors are very different from the RGB colors on a computer screen. If you stop and think, your computer screen is brightly lit with LED lights and the colors are very bright.

Ink colors are pigments which are applied to many colored fabrics. The colors will look very different after you apply them. For this reason, it’s important the customer has a complete understanding of what color he or she will be ordering. 

In order to ensure you know what the color will look like, you can order a stock color swatch set. The stock color swatches are actual printed transfers, which will allow you to print them on your own garment.  Color swatches can be ordered for only a very minimal cost from the transfer manufacturer.

Image of T-Shirt with Stock Color Swatches available from 613originals.com

Choosing custom ink colors – How to order a Custom Color

When you need a custom color match, it’s important to know custom colors are only available with specific “Gang” sheet options. Custom colors are not available with single image programs due to the lower price and quick turnaround times.

Here are the steps to order a custom ink color.

Step 1

Navigate to either Varsity or Classic ink formulas.  Select from 1, 2 or 3 (Spot) colors

Image of Varsity Heat Transfers

Step 2

Select the “Gang” sheet size you wish to use. There are (4) available sheet size options to choose from which allow a custom color option for an additional charge.

Image of Varsity 2 color with Gang Sheet options

Step 3

Upload your art file. If your color contains white, we suggest adding a background layer filled with a color not used in your art file. In this 2 color example, select your first color from the drop-down menu. Next Select “Custom PMS +$30”.

Image of Color Options drop down with Custom PMS +$30 selected

Step 4

Now that you’ve selected the “Custom PMS +$30 option, click on the “Enter Custom PMS Color. When the small Pop-up window opens, simply enter the custom color information. Please be sure to enter the correct Pantone® color number and include a description of the color.

Image showing Pop UP window to enter your custom Pantone® Color and description

Once you finish adding your custom color, simply finish adding the required remaining information and add the job to your cart.  

Helpful Links

Where to buy a Pantone® Book Color Bridge Coated book.

Heat Transfer Gang Sheets – Varsity Formula with Custom Color Option

Heat Transfer Gang Sheets – Classic Formula with Custom Color Option
Where to buy Stock Color Swatch Samples