Trends: The Business of colour

Trends: The Business of colour

As with any business, being able to communicate clearly with our customers is vital. A key part of that communication is knowing that when we're referencing a colour, that colour is the same in everyone's minds.


That's where Pantone comes in. Though there are alternative colour systems available, no other has the market saturation or pop cultural impact of Pantone.

Earnings reports are not disclosed but it is estimated to generate $18.1 million in annual revenues. The company was acquired by X-Rite, a manufacturer of color measurement tools, for $180 million in 2007.

Having begun as a graphic standards system for professional designers in 1963, Pantone has since morphed into an international design powerhouse. The Pantone Matching System (PMS) now comes in a range of formats to cater for various industries: coated and uncoated paper, cotton, digital, coatings and pigments, and most recently, plastics.  

In addition to the PMS there's the Pantone Color Institute, the trend forecasting and colour branding and marketing branch of the company, who every year since 2000 have been declaring a particular colour "Color of the Year".

This appointed Color seems to be gaining traction year on year, to the point that it now appears dictatorial rather than predictive.

The ubiquity of 2017's 'Greenery' was difficult to avoid.

'The way Pantone sees it, predicting the color that will come to define a year is an opportunity for reflection. It's a satisfying psychological tool, like a Rorschach blot, a Myers-Briggs test, or a BuzzFeed quiz.'  Beckett Mufson, Vice

Pantone's 2018 Color of the Year is Ultra Violet. They say it symbolizes mindfulness, the mysteries of the cosmos, experimentation and non-conformity, counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance.

It's hard not to be a little cynical.

Further Reading:

A multicolored microcosm: step inside the pantone factory in new jersey - designboom

How Pantone Comes Up With New Colors for Its Authoritative Guide - Mental Floss

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