Friday, April 19, 2013

the wonderful world of color

As a graphic designer I've used Pantone Matching System for my entire career. Nothing I loved more than receiving a new set of PMS books, tearing out the color chips and playing for hours creating color combinations. I'd even dream of color combinations at night. Sometimes I felt it was an extension of my childhood crayon set mom bought at Goldblatt's.

I saw Pantone extend their brand by introducing markers and colored papers to match many of their colors. Every few years Pantone would offer more colors so you would need to purchase new books to support a color addition. Roll up my sleeves and get my fix.

Their next big introduction in the graphic design world was metallics. I tried my hardest to design something that had a spot color of metallic. Since I was a little peanut I loved glitter, frosted nail polish and metallics. In fact, I had my dad repaint my Schwinn bike Chrysler's Road Runner metallic purple – dad work for Chrysler and had access to the paint. 

I finally got a chance to fill one of my designer's bucketlist – McDonald's asked my old employer, Frankel to create an internal crew campaign regarding salting the fries. The crew kids were concerned about their customers health and would under salt the fries. It was a 2/c job; black and a deep ruby metallic printed on an ivory cougar stock. We always said if the crew stole the poster we did our job well. Our goal was to create cool and hip posters.

I remember a PMS moment back in the 90's. I had just gotten off the South Shore train from Indiana – last stop was under the Prudential building in Chicago. I worked my way up to street level and past the newly constructed Prudential building II and courtyard.  There was a construction worker and a woman dressed in corporate attire on the edge of the construction site. As I got closer to their heated discussion about the color of the sidewalk I realized she was the architect holding a Pantone swatch book for concrete. I knew there were color swatches for fashion designers, but I had to chuckle a little thinking they made a swatch book for cement. OK I was a little naive.

Well, Pantone now makes a color matching system for nearly every industry that involves accurate color matching. Pantone offered high-price paint a few years back for graphic and interior designers. Now they have brought the paints to mainstream at Home Depot called MyColor inspired by Pantone -- 35 ounces for $9.98.

Just a few weeks ago I read Pantone and Sephora stores joined forces to create a a line of cosmetics.
This is just a few PMS memories not meant to be a history lesson. Check-out the Pantone 50th anniversary infographic below. I'm grabbing my color chip mug full of pms-386 green tea and enjoying a slice of pms-1905 strawberry cake while playing with my Pantone iPhone app.