The Institute of Heraldry (TIOH) color palette consists of 40 colors. These are not the only colors used by TIOH, as other colors are used for medals and ribbons, but are the ones specifically used for US Air Force emblems. When TIOH completes an emblem package, it includes a manufacturing drawing or “cartoon” used by approved insignia manufacturers to produce an embroidered patch. Each color can be matched to a specific military specification thread color using the “yarn” or “cable” number.
The table below is based on TIOH color palette provided with the emblem package and TIOH’s color conversion list. In addition to yarn/cable numbers, the table shows the corresponding Federal Standard and Pantone Matching System (PMS) color numbers. The Federal Standard number is used to obtain military standard paint for application on signs, aircraft, etc. PMS is a proprietary numbering system for colors used in graphic design developed by Pantone, LLC. By using the PMS number, you can use ensure you use the correct color. For the table below, PMS “Coated” (the color as printed on “coated” paper resulting in glossy finish as found in magazines) us used for the color swatch. Clicking on the PMS number will take you to the Pantone website which provides conversion numbers for other color standards to include Hex, RGB and CMYK.