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The Pantone Color Story

The Pantone Color Story

I know this might sound foreign to you and my goal is not to use too many fancy terms, but this one you need to know.  Pantone standards are a pretty cool guide to selecting colors.  In my recent style magazine, they discussed the Pantone color of the season.  The industry openly shares the "must-have" pantones each season.  It is my duty to explain and share the story of the Pantone with you.

 Pantone used in fashion color

Pantone used in fashion color

What is a Pantone?

You should think of the Pantone Color Matching System as a standardized color reproduction library.  The system is known for keeping colors to a standard match, different manufacturers refer to the Pantone system to make sure colors match without an in person consultation.  For example, you might call a manufacturer and request yellow 252 (I am making up) but you get the idea.  It keeps everyone on the same page and colors match when produced.

A pantone sample guide

How was the Pantone invented?

Pantone Inc is a corporation headquartered in Carlstadt, New Jersey.  The company is best known for its Pantone Matching System otherwise known as PMS, a proprietary color space used in a variety of industries such printing, manufacturing of colored paint, fabric, and plastics.

Pantone began as the commercial printing company of M & J Levine Advertising in the 1950s in New York City.  

In 1956, its founders, brothers Mervin and Jesse Levine, hired a Hofstra University graduate Lawrence Herbert as a part-time employee. Herbert used his chemistry knowledge to systematize and simplify the company's stock of pigments and production of colored inks.  What?  Chemistry and fashion colors working together to create the Pantone Matching System?  Yes and it's fascinating!   

In 1962, Herbert was running the ink and printing division at a profit, he subsequently purchased the company's technological assets from the Levine Brothers for $90,000 and renamed them "Pantone".

How can I use the Pantone Matching System everyday?

For one, you can add these awesome mugs to your coffee collection.

 Link is below for these must-have mugs!

Link is below for these must-have mugs!

http://www.amazon.com/LEGO-Pantone-Universe-Espresso-Cup/dp/B0142D8MTG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461031420&sr=8-1&keywords=pantone+coffee+mugs

Second, you can expect to find Pantone colors released each season.  So, it's simple you can look for the seasonally released color report when updating your wardrobe.  

Here is the link to the Spring 2016 Pantone Color Report...

http://www.pantone.com/pages/fcr/?season=spring&year=2016&pid=11

Pantone products include Guides, which are a large number of small (approximately 6×2 inches or 15×5 cm) thin cardboard sheets, one side with a series of related color swatches and then bound into a small "fan deck".

Like this...

 A PMS fan, of color matching swatches

A PMS fan, of color matching swatches

The idea behind the PMS is to allow designers to "color match" specific colors when a design enters the production stage, regardless of the equipment used to produce the color. This system is used by graphic designers and printing houses. Pantone recommends that PMS Color Guides be purchased annually because the color watches can lose it's luster over time.  

Sample of color palettes that include pantones

 A logo designed by the Government of Singapore to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the nation's independence. The production instructions for the logo described it as being in Pantone Red 032 and White.

Pantone of the Year?

Annually, they declare a select pantone, a "Color of the Year".  Twice a year the company hosts a secret meeting from various nations' color standards groups in a European capital.  After two days of presentations and debate, they choose a color for the following year.  For example, the color for summer 2013 was chosen in London in the spring of 2012.  The results of the meeting are published in Pantone View, which fashion designers, florists, and many other consumer-oriented companies purchase to help guide their designs and planning for future products.  

  My Pantone Fashion Sketchpad  

My Pantone Fashion Sketchpad  

In 2012, the color of the year, Tangerine Tango, was used to create a makeup line, in partnership with Sephora. The product line, named Sephora + Pantone Universe collection, features Tangerine Tango–embellished false lashes; nail lacquers, cream, glitters, and high-pigment lip glosses. 

We could argue that Pantones are a little bit of science in an artful world that seems a little out of place.  Do you now wish that sleep didn't catch up with you in Chemistry class?  I know I do!  Even though it might not seem important, having standardized colors is necessary.  At least, now you can explain what a pantone is and maybe even start some shopping!  Hello spring!

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