What Is Pantone? Your Guide to Complete Color Competency

Jen Miller / March 29, 2019

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If you’re running a website or business, you have a lot of important decisions to make: choosing a company name, designing a logo, and selecting your brand’s colors — just to name a few. Many of the initial decisions will be challenging. In an unfamiliar world of colors, graphics, and designs, you may encounter new terminology and find yourself asking questions such as “what is Pantone?” and “how is it used?”

The Pantone matching system

When designing a wedding invitation, it might appear bright and vibrant online — however, depending on the colors and print shop you use, they could end up looking dull in person. This certainly doesn’t bode well for a stressed couple eager to see their perfect invitations for the first time. This is why the proper use of color is so critical and embodies the purpose of the Pantone system. In the simplest terms, Pantone is a standardized color key used to ensure color accuracy across various mediums.

Using 1,867 different colors (all assigned to a number within the Pantone Matching System), Pantone allows designers and employers to refer to the same exact color by identifying it by a unique number. This ensures color accuracy, proper color reproduction, and design matching no matter where your colors are printed or recreated from.

Pantone is widely accepted as an industry standard, with very few exceptions. Experienced designers and marketing professionals use this color coding system because it lets them coordinate between different suppliers with ease. This allows them to trust that their products will be produced properly, even across numerous manufacturers.

Identifying Pantone colors

When verifying product colors, a color swatch is an effective resource for designers and a convenient reference tool for business owners. Precision is everything, and when a client has specific color guidelines for everything from website design to brochures, Pantone color swatches are the best resource to use.

Alternatively, if you’re provided with a Pantone color number, you can quickly reference that color using Pantone’s color finder. Once the chosen color is determined, the individual Pantone color is digitally broken down into color value equivalents or codes referred to as RGB, HEX, and CMYK.

This is especially helpful when designing digital media, such as a website. When working with a WordPress.com site, you can choose and set custom colors with the color picker in your Customizer by entering their hex codes. The hex code combines three color-based values to the chosen shade and is prefaced by a pound sign (#). Go to My Site > Customize > Colors & Backgrounds to set your colors.

WordPress.com color picker

Know your brand colors

By now, you can probably answer the question, “What is Pantone?” So, put this knowledge to use and ensure that your website’s color scheme is the same as the one used on your social media sites, business cards, and other printed materials. Consistency is key when it comes to color, and Pantone will ensure that you achieve this goal.

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