The Corporation that Tells YOU What Shade of Blue the Sky Is: Pantone

Pantone_logo.svgRed, yellow, blue, green.  Soft beige, Did you know there’s a “Global Authority on Colour”?  Yes, there’s actually a company that is in charge of naming, standardizing and overseeing colour. “The PANTONE® name is known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer,” says their website.
Pantone names and decided what “Ice Green” looks , like, and deems it to be lighter than “Antique Green”.  It also assigns each colour it creates a unique  number that allows is to be accurately duplicated.
“The most commonly referenced colors are in the Pantone solids palette. The Pantone Solid palette consists of 1,114 colors, identified by three or four digit numbers, followed by a C, U, Or M suffix.. Originally designed for the graphics industry, the pantone solids palette is now used by a wide range of industries, and is the most commonly used palette. For example, Pantone 199 Red can be identified as Pantone 199C (C= Coated Paper), Pantone 199U (U= Uncoated Paper) or Pantone 199M (M=Matte Paper), says colour guide.net.
pantone fan canvas

Pantone, once the domain of the graphics and design industry has recently been getting more consumer attention, by partnering with companies like Sephora to produce products in the colours it deems to be “The Colour of the Year”.  This year it’s Radiant Orchid”, or “purple” to us layfolk.  Last year it was “Emerald Green” and in 2012 it was “Tangerine Tango”, translation: Orange.

Is Pantone successful?  Well, that’s a good question, are any of the walls in your house now painted any of those above colours?  What shade of new clothes are you favouring in your wardrobe?

pantone sephora

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2 thoughts on “The Corporation that Tells YOU What Shade of Blue the Sky Is: Pantone

  1. I think there is utility in having a standardized system for naming colours … in the filming of the “Dune” miniseries they ran into a problem where they had painted the sand in a giant scrim wall a specific colour and had ordered sand to be placed in front of that scrim to match that colour. Unfortunately the sand that arrived (truckloads of it) didn’t match, so there is a noticeable difference between the near ground (real) and far ground (painted) sand.

    That said, I think the idea that they can proscribe which colour to be used in a particular year is a bit of a reach for them. Also isn’t there a more … universal? … colour system using % of RGB? Putting a name to a thing is useful, but in design, AFAIK, having a specific colour is more important than using a particular ‘named’ colour.

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