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The Story Behind Pantones


Need something in a rose quartz or a pale, light grayish spring bud? You’ll need the Pantone Matching System or PMS to nail down the particulars. The name and expression is passed around in the industry all the time and, no doubt, many times that you’ve purchased something, you’ve likely dealt with the color system developed by Lawrence Herbert - the Pantone Match System.

The solution, [Herbert] realized, was to create a unified color system in which each shade was expressed as a number. “If somebody in New York wanted something printed in Tokyo, they would simply open up the book and say, ‘Give me Pantone 123,’ ” Herbert says; 123 (a daffodil yellow) would look exactly the same the world over. Herbert created a sample page to show how the system worked and sent it to ink makers...“I’ve got it right here in my office in Palm Beach.”

By the 1970s, Pantone was making more than a million dollars a year in licensing fees...The Pantone system spread from the advertising world to textiles to food science and has been put to some unexpected uses — like defining the color of a Ben & Jerry’s brownie. “I have matched color charts for wine,” Herbert said. “I matched color charts for anemia blood samples and for walnuts and strawberries and goldfish.”

The rest as they say, is history. So, now you know, in brief, the place we got the system we use. Here’s the full article - an enjoyable read.

  1. Yes, rose quartz and pale, light grayish spring bud are real colors!
Pantone Colors

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