Spec'ing plastic metallic finishes

I’ve been working on a series of electronic gadgets and I’m having trouble communicating the finishes I want to the manufacturer in China.

I have the Pantone metallic formula guide (coated) but that’s really a print book, and it’s kind of lacking in it’s range of grays, which is what I’ll mostly be using.

Does anybody have any suggestions on specifying plastic metallic colors/ finishes?


PPG, Dupont, House of Kolor, Pantone Plastics (Industrial Designers Plastic samples), GE Color Express…

Come on be resourcefull, use the internet to purchase some standard paint color books, automotive color books, coustom color books, Plastic color/FX books, etc.

But if you are dealing with China, your best bet is to go to the plant in person, because nomatter what it is the best and most often only way to communicate effectivly with the plant. Also no matter what color you suggest unless you are there in person they will use the cheapest color that is close. Close to them means if you point out Pantone 8040 C from your coated metalics book your parts will be silver.

I have been looking at automotive paints…etc, I was just wondering if there was any kind of standard system specifically for metallic finish plastics like there is for other finishes or if anybody has any specific examples they have had success with in the past.

For example metallic paint usually has a flake size as well as a color spec -
there’s no flake in plastic but is there any kind of “grain” spec ?(other than surface texture).

The tricky part is that I’m trying to ensure a close match between a device built in Korea and another device that is built in China - one docks into another, and, as usual timeline is tight (in stores by Xmas). I’m not expecting a perfect match but I want the two to look identical to the uncritical eye.


hum…Samsong cell phone charger. Well then you just answered your own question…Take the item you want to match to China with you and meet with the people there, then insist on a short run of 50-100 to check the finish and the quality before they run the whole lot.

Hi, I work for a sourcing/manufacturing/quality control company that consults for US and European companies doing business in China.

Depending on where your factory is located, we could get someone on site to select the appropriate finish. If your factory is not close enough to one of our agents for an on site visit, we can do a much better job of understanding and communicating what you need to the factory you are working with now, or find a different factory depending on where you are in the process.

send an email to jason_hui@jgquality.com if you would like to talk about options.