Headquartered in Carlstadt, New Jersey, Pantone Inc. is best known for its Pantone Color Matching System, a proprietary color system used in a variety of industries including printing, paint, fabric, and plastics.
Pantone started out as a small commercial printing company in the 1950s, primarily manufacturing color cards for cosmetics companies. In 1956, Hofstra University graduate Lawrence Herbert was hired as a part-time employee. Herbert utilized his chemistry background and began systematizing and simplifying the company's vast stock of pigments and it's production of colored inks. By the start of the 1962 fiscal year, Herbert had the company's ink and printing division running efficiently enough to turn a profit, while it's commercial display division was around $50,000 in debt. Herbert decided to purchase the company's technology assets from his employers and renamed them "Pantone." As reported by printingtalk.com, Pantone Inc. was purchased for $180 million in October 2007 by X-Rite Inc, a supplier of color measurement instruments and software.
The original idea behind Pantone's various color matching systems was to allow designers to assign standardized colors to the different parts of a product. This ensures that when a design enters the production stage - regardless of the equipment used, or whether the product is made entirely at one site - the exact designer-intended colors will be used. This basic concept has proven itself highly reliable since it's creation, and has been widely adopted by graphic designers as well as reproduction and printing houses for a number of years now. It should be noted that for greatest accuracy, Pantone recommends that PMS color guides be purchased annually as their inks become more yellow over time. Color variance can also occur within an edition depending on the type of paper used (coated, matte or uncoated).
(Original) Pantone Color Matching System
The well known Pantone Color Matching System (PMS) guides, consist of a large number of thin cardboard sheets measuring approximately 6"×2" (15cm×5cm) which are printed on one side with a series of color swatches and then bound into a small flipbook. An example "page" might contain a number of blues varying from light to dark, or from a "true" blue toward a more turquoise shade.
Pantone introduced their Goe System on September 5, 2007, which consists of over 2,000 new colors in a brand new matching and numbering system. Goe uses the familiar swatch books (now called the GoeGuide), but also includes adhesive-backed GoeSticks, compatibility with the Pantone Color Manager Software, helpful tools, and an online community which facilitates color swatch and information sharing between users. The Goe system has been refined to use only 10 base colors (plus clear coating for reflections) and is now designed to accommodate many of the technical challenges faced in reproducing colors on a press. Goe also includes additional format support including color translations for RGB and LAB color systems.
This series preserves all of the current colors of the original system – which it also replaces - and adds number of contemporary colors, for "greater design flexibility." One of it's greatest features is the fact that no new equipment or training beyond that of the original system is necessary to use it. All the Plus Series solid colors are printed using the same 14 basic color inks alredy in use, and the new solid colors are printed at uniform thicknesses, making them easier to accurately match.
New in the Plus Series:
- 224 new market-proven solid colors in the new Formula, Solid Chips, and Color Bridge Guides (1,371 total solid colors).
- Premium Metallics Guide and Chips with 300 metallic colors.
- 42 new neon colors (56 neons total) in the new Pastels & Neons Guide and CHIPS.
- Fan style guides and chip books are now arranged chromatically for a more intuitive color selection process.
- New index included to assist in color location.
- New ColorChecker lighting indicator included in every guide to help find the proper lighting for color evaluations.
- ColorChecker Primer included in Color Bridge guides, for use with digital photography image color correction.
A robust desktop application, Pantone Color Manager software provides yet another medium for color matching in order to help customers use the latest Pantone colors accurately. This software updates all of the Pantone libraries (more than 9,000 unique colors in all) including the new "plus series" colors, making them ready to use in QuarkXPress, Corel and Adobe Creative Suite design programs. Color Manager allows the use of ICC profiles to create color-managed Pantone libraries, which can then be synced up to any myPANTONE iPhone app. providing personal, portable color control. The Color Manager palette creation feature introduces the ability to upload palettes into design applications, while image color extraction allows users to sample colors and create palettes from existing photos and images.
The myPANTONE iPhone app. provides access to a variety of Pantone color libraries, including the new Pantone Plus Series, and allows users to build color palettes which they are then able then share with colleagues and clients. Offering graphic, Web, fashion and apparel designers a way to take Pantone Colors with them wherever they go, myPANTONE grants perfect color memory and eliminates sometimes disastrous guesswork.
Available for iPhone and iPod Touch, myPANTONE X-Ref is a versatile cross-referencing tool allowing mobile access to Pantone color libraries. Among other things, users can find the closest color matches throughout all the Pantone color libraries, or determine which Pantone plus series color corresponds to a color in the Goe or fashion + home systems, or convert an RGB, Hexadecimal (HTML) or CMYK value to it's closest PANTONE Color match.
Supported PANTONE Color Libraries:
- New Pantone Plus Formula Guides Solid Coated and Uncoated with 224 new colors
- New Pantone Plus Pastels & Neons Coated and Uncoated
- New Pantone Plus Color Bridge Coated and Uncoated
- Pantone Goe coated and uncoated
- Pantone GoeBridge coated
- Pantone Fashion + Home paper and cotton