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Everything You Didn't Know You Wanted to Know About Pantone

Updated: Feb 28


Pantone Color Sheets

All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites.

—Marc Chagall

Assuming you've created a product in the past, you're likely familiar with the Pantone Color System. For those of you who are new to product design and manufacturing, Pantone is the universal color language used by designers and creators worldwide. In industries ranging from interior decorating to clothing design, beauty products to illustration, Pantone is an absolute necessity to control color throughout the process.


Pantone was launched by a man named Lawrence Herbert, who purchased and revamped a color card company that once employed him. Since that time, it has become the worldwide standard for color matching in design. Pantone is helpful for a couple of reasons.

  • It creates a reference for people from all backgrounds. People with different levels of experience and who may even face language barriers are able to collaborate because of the system's simplicity.

  • It also helps designers working with CMYK colors determine what ratios are needed to produce desired colors. Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key (Black) are the components of 4 cylinder printing, whereas Pantone printing uses a singular dye.

Pantone is an incredible resource for both printing systems and can help designers meet their needs with ease.


Pantone Color of the Year

Pantone names a “Color of the Year” on an annual basis and gives a short analysis of the color and a forecast for popular colors that brands and designers might use throughout the year. They've always done an exceptional job of capturing the forecasted palettes of the coming year’s marketing and design.


2022 is the year of “Very Peri,” a color "whose courageous presence encourages personal inventiveness and creativity." It's a modern twist on a traditional violet, and Pantone offers a number of possible color pallets in various moods for your consideration. This practice of keeping designers in the loop with popular and unique colors can be a big help for designers and product creators.


Pantone System vs. CMYK

One final topic is the difference between the printing systems, Pantone and CMYK. Capable print companies know that there are many variables when it comes to the color printing process. Four color processing, better known as CMYK, is an abbreviation for the colors used in the printing color process: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (key). It is typical for most home and office printers. CMYK works by mixing the four colors to create specific secondary colors. To achieve more color specific printing, Pantone is the way to go, because it prints with highly specific mixes of inks to create precise colors.


The most notable difference between CMYK and Pantone systems is the level of precision in the colors. Pantone systems lead to more consistent and specific color production when creating digital designs. Pantone printing can be a more costly option than CMYK printing, so it might be easier for small or first time print runs to go that direction.


For products that require consistency for branding, Pantone is the more popular choice. For products that require less precise colors, CMYK is a good choice. Choosing between the two really depends on your expected product outcome and your budget.

 

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