Pops of Color Across the Globe: Exploring the Impact of Pantone on Design and Culture


Color is all around us, from the vibrant sunsets to the vivid hues of our favorite foods. It influences our moods, impacts our decisions, and shapes the way we perceive the world. And one company has played a significant role in shaping the way we think about color: Pantone.

Founded in the 1950s, Pantone is a company that creates color standards and systems, which are used in a wide range of industries from fashion to interior design to graphic design. Pantone’s color matching system has become an essential tool for designers, helping them to create consistent and accurate color representations.

But Pantone’s influence goes beyond just the design industry. It has had an impact on the way we think about color and how it can be used to express ourselves, our emotions, and our values. Let’s dive deeper into the role of Pantone in shaping design and culture.

The History of Pantone

Pantone was founded in 1963 by Lawrence Herbert, a chemist who discovered that it was possible to create a system for accurately identifying and reproducing colors using a standardized numbering system. This led to the creation of the Pantone Matching System (PMS), which uses a set of standardized color chips that are used to match and communicate color across a wide range of industries.

Pantone’s influence on the design industry began in the 1990s, with the introduction of its Color of the Year. This annual announcement of a single color that serves as a symbolic representation of the year ahead has since become a highly anticipated event in the design and fashion industries.

Today, Pantone has expanded into a highly respected brand that offers a wide range of products and services, from color consultation to trend forecasting.

The Impact of Pantone on Design

Pantone has had a significant impact on the design industry by providing designers with a standardized system for communicating and replicating colors. This has made it easier for designers to match colors across print and digital media, leading to a more consistent and cohesive visual language.

But Pantone’s influence on design goes beyond just providing a standardized color system. Its color of the year announcements have become a highly anticipated event that shapes design trends and influences the use of color in everything from fashion to home decor.

For example, in 2021, Pantone announced Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow as its Colors of the Year. This combination of a warm, sunny yellow and a cool, calming gray has since been incorporated into fashion collections, home decor, and graphic design, shaping the way we think about color and its emotional impact.

The Impact of Pantone on Culture

Pantone’s influence on culture is not limited to the design industry. Its color of the year announcements have become a cultural touchstone, reflecting the current mood and influencing everything from fashion to politics.

For example, in 2017, Pantone announced Greenery as its color of the year, reflecting a desire for renewal, rejuvenation, and connection to nature. This color was embraced by the fashion industry, with greenery-inspired clothing and accessories popping up on runways and in stores.

Pantone’s Color of the Year has also been used to raise awareness about social issues. In 2016, Pantone partnered with the Prince Estate to create a custom shade of purple called Love Symbol #2 in honor of the late musician. This shade of purple has since been used to raise awareness about opioid addiction and mental health issues.

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