Pantone colors are, simply put, the industry standard, a universal coloring system that lets you exactly and perfectly match your colors to anyone else’s on the other side of the globe. But with all the technology available today, isn’t there another, better way?
The short answer is no. Have you ever noticed the color differences between two computer monitors? Imagine trying to match colors based on what you see on your monitor. It’s an impossible task just because any computer’s color settings and resolutions can be dramatically different than the machine sitting right next to it.
Okay, so what we see on our computer monitors won’t work for matching colors, and that example makes using Pantone colors the obvious choice. Here’s another example: paint chips.
If you’ve walked the aisles searching for just the right shade of your favorite color to repaint your walls, you know how many shades of Strawberry Red, Lime Green and Ocean Blue are available, and how each company’s differs from the others. That’s because paint chips from the hardware store aren’t universal. So who developed these universal Pantone colors and how did they become the industry standard?
The Pantone coloring system has its roots way back in the late 50’s when a commercial printing company hired a new college grad, Lawrence Herbert. Herbert used his chemistry knowledge to standardize the printing company’s ink colors. By doing this, he decreased the necessary pigment stock the company held and dramatically simplified their color matching process.
In 1962 Herbert bought out the ink and printing divisions and named his new company Pantone.
- Its primary product? A fan deck of color cards, each color with its own unique number and exact pigment formula.
- The purpose? To provide a simple, easy way to exactly match colors.
- Final outcome? Total success!
Pantone has been a raging success, embraced by designers and printing and reproduction houses around the world. The Pantone system takes the guesswork out of matching colors and guarantees the finished product is exactly what the customer ordered.
That means a company’s logo is identical everywhere it’s displayed. We see Pantone colors everywhere: the Coca-Cola red, the Microsoft Windows 4-color flag, the bright Fiesta dishware colors – all Pantone perfect, all Pantone identical . . . everywhere.
And Pantone colors are a big deal. Each year in a secret meeting, a group of top representatives in the color industry meets to pick next year’s Color of the Year. The annual Color of the Year announcement includes a brief statement explaining the top pick. In 2011 Honeysuckle was the chosen color, and described as a color to lift people’s spirits in times of stress by providing a color that stimulates, captivates and wards off the blues.
Pantone continually adds new colors to its repertoire, with a total of 2100 shades available in 2012. Everyone can find exactly what they’re looking for.
Yes, Pantone colors are a big deal, because they make your life simpler, make decisions easier and lower costs for your projects. Need to pick colors that will stand the test of time for your new logo? Want perfectly matching accessories for that vintage dress? Hunting for just the right shade of purple to compliment your new decor? Just think Pantone.
Pantone, the color industry’s standard for over 50 years, and going strong for all the right reasons. That’s why everyone uses it, and why it’s such a big deal.