Saturday, April 17, 2010

Five Favorite Design Tools: #4 Pantone Color Guide

pantone, originally uploaded by nrillustration.

Ah Pantone, the ubiquitous color guides. Most everyone in the design world uses Pantone as the standard for choosing and sharing color. For this reason Pantone both thrills and annoys me.

Thrilling: Color, plain and simple. Just mulling over the myriad of Pantone colors; mixing, matching, arranging and so on. This is a therapeutic exercise for me. On top of that, I can share my favorite color with with a print shop down the street or a manufacturer in India and get a reliable match to my little swatch... so exciting.

Annoying: Pantone home collection? Pantone for paper? For plasitc? There are so many collections and numbering systems, it's bound to be confusing. Pantone doesn't make these differences clear to the average user so there are often communication issues, especially between paper and fabric swatches. My other beef is with the price. Pantone is not priced for indie designers. What's more, even the 'cheap' $165 fan deck looks like something you could have collected for free at the local paint store.

Despite its faults, Pantone is an unparalleled color communication tool and it's ridiculously exciting (at least for me) to play with all those lovely colors. I'm happy to have Pantone in my collection of design tools.

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