The World of Pantone, Full of Color

It is no secret, at R&R we live for colors. Reds, blues, greens and literally everything in between. Black and white rarely enters our color palette and when they do, it is only a brief appearance. So where does this rich and color-filled spectrum come from? One word: Pantone.

The Story of Pantone

What exactly is Pantone? Let’s first start with a “who”. In 1963, a man by the name of Lawrence Herbert developed a revolutionary process of color matching that reigns supreme as the industry standard for more than 50 years. From Atlanta to Hong Kong, this color matching system has helped countless businesses create designs that leave a lasting impression.


Pantone’s standardized color reproduction method allows different manufacturers in different locations the ability to produce work that is consistent with the originally intended palette. Using the Pantone formula guide, graphic designers and printers can refer to a Pantone number when communicating a specific color. The Pantone Matching System’s most popular use is with colors found in the CMYK process. CMYK is a method of printing color that employs four different inks: cyan (greenish blue), magenta (pinkish or purplish), yellow, and black. The popularity of the CMYK system is impressive, as the majority of the world’s printed material is created using the process. In total, the Pantone Matching System has 1,677 colors that can be used in design.

Bigger Than Roy G. Biv

You probably thought Mr. Roy G. Biv was the only name you needed to know in the world of colors. Think again! Since the golden year of 1963, Pantone has been able to expand its color matching system beyond just printed materials. They are now used in digital technology, fashion, plastics, architecture and paint. Many industry professionals take time to advance their craft through the Pantone Color Institute, which is a color research and information center. This great resource of color information allows them to learn more about the process, one that is continuously being developed by Pantone’s team of scientists. By studying the influence that color has on human thought process, emotions and physical reactions, Pantone scientists can better explain the effect that they have on viewers.


So, what else do you need to know about the world of Pantone? Well, how about the fact that each year the company unveils its “Color of the Year”. During two dates on the calendar, Pantone invites representatives from various color standards groups to meet in secret and debate which color should be crowned. The color chosen embodies that year’s culturally dominant theme. In say, times of global stress during the recent economic recession, the 2011 Color of the Year was a soothing Honeysuckle. Representing 2013 was Emerald, otherwise known as Pantone 17-5641. This year’s selection is Radiant Orchid, or Pantone 18-3224.

The next time you look at a rainbow, think of the amazing possibilities this collection of color signifies. Somewhere, in a lab tucked away at Pantone’s headquarters, scientists are working hard to replicate more accurately this amazing spectrum that nature so beautifully puts on display.