Pantone is a brand synonymous with colour. Designers use Pantone to indicate which mixes of Spot (single, unique) colour, also referred to as a PMS, when specifying corporate colours for print. Like the Cadbury purple, which is actually ™ trademarked, there is a unique colour specified by every large brand in the world.

Colour is one of the elements used to identify and build a brand’s visual identity (more on that later), which is why it is so important to identify colour when planning an identity, brand, or logo design.

Even black and white logos have colour, or lack of, and these are specified both through the software program used to render the artwork for the printer, as well as in corporate style guides and other items intended to define and protect the identity. But I digress.

Pantone.

Pantone was founded in 1962, a small USA business manufacturing colour cards for cosmetic companies. Lawrence Herbert, an employee of the company since 1956, bought the company and then changed its direction in 1963, developing instead, a ™ colour matching system.

Fast forward to now and we have a technicolour spectrum of Pantone-branded colour to select our hues and shades from, to differentiate the systems, icons, brandmarks, products and any other collateral in an identity. There are other systems but for the designer it is this system that is the most critical to learn and love, on behalf of clients. As a CMYK equivalent, colour breaks down to a different shade when printed on the printing press. So using Pantone is a good idea, and a tad more expensive, but guarantees results.

Pantone also has fluoro hues, metallic, mixed metallic and about anything else you could dream of, want or afford in a print colour. That is why designers love Pantone. But I don’t work for the company, I am explaining why I selected Peach Echo for the key colour on my new website update.

It is part of the current colour trends nominated by large companies, fashion houses and most importantly, the Pantone™ Fashion Colour Report from Spring 2016, a publication of the Pantone Color Institute™.

Colour trends

I am not a fan of any trends really, but Peach Echo is the better of the colours that Pantone identified to make this year “on trend”. It also translates evenly into digital spaces, which is beneficial for a small business like mine to manage the application of colour into marketing collateral like websites, social media, business cards and the like.

Design Process

I explain this colour selection process to you to demonstrate why colour is even considered at all by a designer when choosing options for client identities. You may not hear it as plainly as I write here but it is obvious that selecting colour that is on trend, will resonate with the imaginations, desires and wants of those who see, taste, touch, or feel it. Perhaps website users could even hear “Peach Echo” – I know I hear colour when I gaze upon Mark Rothko artwork!

Orange was the previous colour choice for my visual identity, but it was more of a burnt orange. Why I selected orange in relation to design was due to twenty years of looking at solid, serious shades of blue for corporate identity (yes, another story for later). So I have orange and have evolved it to “Peach Echo” for my new website update.

Not everything needs to change when a client is updating their identity, and core elements like colour usually do remain due to either the business owner or customer affinity with the hue or shade, or for more financial reasons of having to roll out a new colour scheme onto signage etc.

So I urge you to check out Pantone colour each year, as it may affect your products, identity or even outlook on what your organisation looks like.

EO @olsonwells

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