Chris Hebert Commercial Representative +41 22 741 01 51 (w) +41 22 594 82 60 (f) +41 78 629 01 51 (m) Background The Pantone color match system dates back to 1963, when a part-time employee, Lawrence Herbert was developing a method to streamline his employer’s stock of pigments and production of colored inks. His efforts led to the creation of a system to specify and match colors, irrespective of the equipment used to produce the color. By classifying and standardizing colors, all parties involved, from marketers to designers to printers and production people are certain that they are all getting a predefined result, even without direct contact with each other. Pantone colors are also called “spot” colors, as opposed to “process colors”, which are the 4 ink colors used in offset printing (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black or CMYK). There are other color matching systems, but Pantone is by far the most well-known and widely used. How it works The classic Pantone guide is made of cardboard strips, printed on 1 side, in a series of related color swatches (usually 7), bound into a “fan”. Each color has a name or number, that never changes and a reference to the exact proportions of each ink required to produce it. While some of the colors can be produced using standard 4 color process inks, most are mixed from a set of 14 Pantone base pigments. Pantone guides will often have the same color printed on coated and uncoated paper as the apparent color differs, due to the coating (or lack of coating) and finish, even though the ink mix is identical. Metallic, fluorescent and pastel colors are also referenced in the Pantone system. How they’re used Branding: Companies, governments and organizations specify Pantone colors for their logos, flags and seals. By doing so they’re certain that the color is as consistent as possible when printed on different materials or using different printing methods. Think of the “golden arches” of McDonalds (123), or the blue of the UN flag (279). Impact & Gamut: Using Pantones dramatically increases the gamut of printable colors, and the colors are richer, bolder and more pure. A bright orange or neon green just isn’t possible in CMYK. Large areas of solid color: A large area of color on a page can often appear mottled or irregular using process inks (CMYK), but clean and consistent with Pantones. Did you know? When looking at a printed piece under a loupe a Pantone will appear solid, as opposed to the telltale dot screen of 4 color printing (see at left). In Switzerland, you can order Pantone guides from IDPURE (Morges). Why not discover your Pantone birthday color? Call me: +41 22 741 01 51 (w) +41 22 594 82 60 (f) +41 78 629 01 51 (m) Click here to no longer receive email from this person with this service.