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What are Pantone Colours?
If you’ve been working in graphic design for awhile, you’ve probably heard of Pantone Colours, but do you know exactly what they are and why they’re so important to designers?
Pantone Colours for graphic designers are a incredible range of over 2,600 solid colours created by Pantone, that are the foundation of the Pantone Matching System. This system is a standardised colour matching system, designed by Pantone to ensure colour accuracy and consistency in colour online and across printing surfaces.
Colour accuracy and consistency has always been a challenge in printing even with the popular CMYK system of printing which can give small variations in results depending on the technique and paper used for printing.
Each Pantone colour created for graphic design is identified by a proprietary naming system that consists of the Pantone brand name followed by a unique number, followed by a letter, usually C for coated, U for uncoated and M for matte which refers to the paper the colour has been created to be printed on. So most Pantone numbers look something like this: Pantone 16-1546U.
Here’s an example of how the process works:
A designer works with client to refine branding colours using Pantone’s colour chips.
She then creates a variety of stationary for the client using the selected colours.
The client okays the proofs and she sends the job to the printer, and includes the Pantone colour chips for reference.
The printer uses the Pantone colour references and mixes the ink required using Pantone’s formula guide.
With the mixed ink and the Pantone colour chip as a colour standard, the printer prints the stationary. With the Pantone Matching System, colour consistency is guaranteed, from design to final delivery.
Furthermore, if the same designer does further work on the same client’s brand materials, but chooses a different printer, she can use the same process without being worried about colour inconsistencies.
That in essence is the beauty of the Pantone Matching System.
What Is the Pantone Color of the Year?
Every year, since 2000, Pantone Color Institute scours the globe to find a color worthy of carrying the title ‘Color of the Year’.
The company itself defines the Color of the Year as a:
“A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.”
And how do they come up with color snapshot?
According to their website, Pantone looks for new colour influences in a number of diverse and sometimes surprising sources including the entertainment industry, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations and new lifestyles, new technologies, materials, textures, social media platforms, global sporting events and socio-economic conditions.
Let’s look at some of the colours that made the grade in the past.
The First Pantone Colour of the Year 2000
The first every Pantone Colour of the Year was in 2000 and it was: PANTONE 15-4020 (Cerulean).
Evocative of the sky and the sea, the folks at Pantone felt that blue best represented the new millennium and the hope for sense of peace and tranquility in the coming century.
Said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute:
“Surrounding yourself with Cerulean blue could bring on a certain peace because it reminds you of time spent outdoors, on a beach, near the water – associations with restful, peaceful, relaxing times. In addition, it makes the unknown a little less frightening because the sky, which is a presence in our lives every day, is a constant and is always there.”
Pantone also noted that blue is related to the water and raises awareness of the issue of water shortages around the world and concerns about the exhaustion of our natural resources.
Other Big News From 2000:
January: Y2K bug fails to happen
March: The newest Sony gaming console, Playstation 2, was released for sale in Japan.
March: American Beauty won 5 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Kevin Spacey, and Best Director for Sam Mendes
May 11:The billionth living person in India is born.
July: 24-year-old Tiger Woods becomes the youngest player to win a Grand Slam in Golf
July: Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire by JK Rowling is published, and becomes the fastest-selling book ever
August: DeviantART is launched by Scott Jarkoff, Matt Stephens, and Angelo Sotira.
September 13: Steve Jobs introduces the public beta of Mac OS X
November: First inhabitants arrive at the International Space Station; the crew comprises one American and two Russian astronauts
December: George W Bush wins US presidential election after several Florida recounts
Pantone Color of the Year 2017
Jumping forward PANTONE 15-0343 (Greenery) was Pantone’s 18th Colour of the Year in 2017.
Gorgeous green, evocative of the forests and fields, Pantone sees greenery as the life-affirming shade of spring and a symbol of new beginnings.
Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute says of Greenery:
“Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalise, Greenery symbolises the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”
Pantone also connected their choice of green to the human need to reconnect with nature and incorporate more of it in urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally.
Other Big News From 2017:
January: Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States
February: Adele wins five Grammy awards, but says in her speech that Beyoncé should have won Best Album for Lemonade.
February: Moonlight wins Oscar for Best Motion Picture, but only after an epic mixup when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope and initially presented the award to La La Land.
March: Brexit officially starts. The U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggered the two-year process of leaving the EU.
May: Emmanuel Macron wins France’s presidential election becoming the country’s youngest-ever president.
July: A massive fire engulfed Grenfell Tower, a residential high-rise building in London killing 72 people
August & September: Three monster hurricanes ravaged Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands within a four-week span.
October: The Me Too movement gathers momentum after The New York Times publishes a story detailing numerous accusations of sexual harassment against movie producer Harvey Weinstein.
November 15: A Leonardo da Vinci painting, Salvator Mundi, sells for US$450 million at Christie’s in New York, a new record price for any work of art.
Pantone Color of the Year 2018
Pantone Color of the Year 2018 is PANTONE 18-3838 (Ultra Violet)
For 2018, Pantone invited us all to embrace the mystery of what lies ahead for us personally and as a species with their choice of the enigmatic ultra violet. Long a colour that symbolises nobility and spirituality, Pantone embraced purple’s more contemporary roots as a favourite of non-conformists and musical innovators like Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and Prince.
As Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, puts it:
“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level”.
With this choice of ultra violet, their celebration of innovation and references to the cosmos, the company seems to be endorsing the idea that our future just might lie somewhere in the clouds figuratively and literally.
Other Big News From 2018
May: Prince Harry marries US actress Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel, with an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion
June: Saudi Arabia finally allows women to drive.
June: World Cup 2018 is help in Russia
The Shape of Water wins Oscar for Best Motion Picture
July: Eritrea and Ethiopia officially declare an end to their twenty-year conflict
July: The share price of Facebook drops by almost 20 percent after the company warns investors that user growth has slowed following the data leak scandal. Over $109 billion is wiped from its market value, the largest single day loss in corporate history.
August: Affinity Publisher is launched in a free public beta test, completing the trio of Affinity creative apps.
August: Apple Inc. becomes the world’s first $1 trillion company
September: The Supreme Court of India decriminalises homosexuality.
October: Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, triggering a diplomatic crisis for Saudi Arabia.