Happy 50th, Pantone

pantoneplus1Cast your mind back to the hurly-burly of the 1960s design world. Lawrence Herbert, owner of the Pantone print company, had just produced a retail display sign showing the different shades of pantyhose for sale. With no other way of getting the correct hue of ink for each swatch, he was forced to hand mix them all himself. Finally, in 1963, Herbert hit upon what today seems like an obvious solution: a color-identification system with each hue represented by a number.

In the 50 years since the advent of the Pantone Matching System, designers the world over have come to rely on it for nearly every project they tackle. And like any artist, those designers have come to treat the various Pantone books and guides they’ve owned over the years with a certain reverence. (Who doesn’t remember their first?) They were never cheap, and often served as a symbol that separated the enthusiastic dilettante from the true design professional.

pantoneplus2To mark the system’s 50th anniversary, Pantone has released a limited edition of the Pantone Plus Series for graphics and multimedia, with special anniversary packaging. The Plus Series debuted 560 new colors. In addition:

  • New colors that had been added at the end of previous books have now been grouped with their color families
  • Pantone Essentials and Portable Guide Studio have a redesigned carry case that stores up to 9 PANTONE guides (and looks pretty awesome to boot)
  • Until June 30th, you can trade in any old Pantone guide to receive a $50 rebate toward any Plus Value Bundle.

Color junkies, check out this video for a brief look at how Pantone chips are made, how they’re tested, and just how the heck they keep managing to come up with new colors:



More recent Pantone fun:


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