The importance of Pantone color references

Fashion & Lifestyle
Between 1956 and 1961 a company based in New Jersey was a small company that produced color cards for cosmetics companies. In 1962, Lawrence Herbert, an existing employee, bought the company. He immediately changed direction, developing the first color matching system in 1963. This is how the infamous Pantone guides were born, indispensable for identifying color.

The company’s main products include Pantone guides, which consist of a large number of thin cardboard sheets (about 15 × 5 cm), printed on one side with a series of correlated color samples and then bound in a small book to loose sheets.

For example, a particular “page” could contain a number of yellows that vary in luminescence from light to dark.

The idea behind the Pantone Matching System (“PMS”) is to allow designers to “match specific colors” when a design enters the production phase, regardless of the equipment used to produce the color. This system has been widely adopted by Graphic Designers, Reproduction and Printing Houses for a number of years.

Here are some key points about the Pantone Color Matching system:

Pantone recommends purchasing PMS color guides or samples every year, as their inks become more yellow over time. However, if you have a limited budget, this is not always possible due to the costs.

Color variations also occur within the editions based on the paper used (coated, matte, silk and gloss).

The PMS expands on existing color reproduction systems, such as the CMYK process. The CMYK process is a standardized method of color printing using four inks: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Most of the world’s printed material is produced using the CMYK process.

The PMS is based on a specific mix of pigments to create new colors, referred to as spot colors.

The PMS also allows the production of many “special” colors such as metallic and fluorescent.

While most of the Pantone system colors go beyond the printed CMYK range, those that can be simulated through the CMYK process are labeled as such within company guides. Pantone colors are described by their assigned number (generally referred to as “PMS 130”).

Guides are available in various formats including:

Pantone Fan Guides

Similar to the color strips that can be collected in DIY stores, this guide shows the blocks of different colors related to the names printed next to each color. They are printed on coated, uncoated or matte paper. The guides, which are fixed together at one end, which allows them to be removed, can be purchased separately or in series.

Binders

These sample books are available in 3-ring binders with color block pages. The chips are small samples of tear colors. This format is ideal for providing samples with your illustrations or digital files so that customers or printers can get a more precise picture of how the colors printed on their project will look.

Digital guides

The latest innovation in color guides, digital chips enable more than 1,000 PANTONE spot colors to be matched with their process color equivalents and the output of a Xerox Docucolour 6060 digital press. Tear-off chips are reproduced on a coated media .

The importance of Pantone colors in the fashion industry cannot be underestimated. Like internationally recognized numbered shades and colors, they form the basis of the coherence between design, development and production.

Pantone Color Set (“PCS”) are available for the fashion industry in two different iterations:

The Pantone Cotton Passport contains all the 2,310 colors of Fashion, Home, & Interiors in an easy-to-carry format that allows you to check the fabric color in stores. Cotton Passport is the only guide organized in a format that allows you to view and select all colors simultaneously.

Pantone Cotton Chip Set is the most convenient palette development tool for designers in the textile and fashion sectors. A reference in two volumes of the 2,310 colors inspired by the fashion market, the set features removable tabs that allow you to arrange the colors side by side for palette selection, presentations and color communication.

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