Pantone Turns 50 and Releases Limited-edition PANTONE PLUS SERIES Packaging

Pantone is celebrating the PLUS SERIES, a complete color communication system that fulfills the analog and digital workflow needs of graphic design, print, packaging, web design, animation and video professionals.

If there's a single item that you can count on finding within reach of any graphic designer, it's one of the many color matching guides that Pantone has been providing well before the digital era. At the center of a broad product offering, PANTONE FORMULA GUIDES have long provided a consistent method for selecting, matching and specifying the 1,114 solid PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM colors on coated, uncoated and matte stocks.

Be that as it may, Pantone's strangely-named Goe System, introduced in 2007, provided a dramatically new approach for designers, by including 2,058 new spot colors arranged in chromatic order for easier selection and specification. It's not clear the degree to which that gained traction, although the price of Goe System Color Specification products was eventually lowered, indicating a need to boost adoption.

PANTONE PLUS was released in 2010 and included the chromatic arrangement of colors, an expanded palette of spot colors, the addition of new premium metallics and a broader range of neons. PANTONE COLOR MANAGER software was provided with every PLUS SERIES purchase, and was said to allow designers to update their favorite design applications with the new PLUS SERIES Color Libraries. An added feature allowed users to convert spot colors to CMYK simulations based on loaded ICC profiles. Creatives could also access the entire PANTONE PLUS SERIES from their iPhones with the myPANTONE iPhone application, which lets designers capture, create and share PANTONE Color Palette. All guides in the PLUS SERIES also included a ColorChecker Lighting Indicator to show whether current lighting conditions are suitable for color evaluation. In addition, all books were printed on text-weight paper to more closely reflect the majority of printed work today and meet certification standards set forth by the Forest Stewardship Council.

So much for history. Two years later, Pantone added 336 new colors "inspired" by the Goe System to the PANTONE PLUS SERIES, bringing the total to 1,677 colors. All color families are said to have been extended to include a wider variety of values, saturation and undertones, from subtle pastels and reliable mid-tones to the intensity of deep tones, vivid brights and vital, nuanced neutrals. The additional colors were available as supplements for a limited time, so owners of previous publications could easily update their guides — an important objective for Pantone, given that designers often fail to regularly update them.

If you can't kill something, then the next best thing may be to celebrate it. According to Giovanni Marra, director of corporate marketing at Pantone, “In celebration of Pantone’s 50 years of color inspiration, we designed special anniversary edition packaging and covers for the PANTONE PLUS SERIES. The PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM sparked a revolution in color management and inspiration. We can’t wait to see how the PLUS SERIES shapes the next 50 years of color.” Goe, we hardly knew ye.

The limited-edition PANTONE PLUS SERIES guides and books feature metallic covers and a 50th anniversary logo. Additionally, the PANTONE FORMULA GUIDE and PANTONE COLOR BRIDGE sets are packaged in a 50th anniversary gift box, for that significant other designer. Apparently, customers can trade in any old PANTONE guide for a $50 rebate toward the purchase of any PLUS Value Bundle until June 30, 2013. So this might be the moment to ditch that decades-old guide you're still using.

More information and purchasing is available on the Pantone site.