Pantone Colors for Designers

Punit Chawla
Dec 25, 2017 · 5 min read
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Pantone has been a leader in colors for print media for a while now, but as a designer, there are great many advantages of using Pantone as a color guide. If you’ve ever played around or explored with software like Adobe Creative Cloud Illustrator or Photoshop, you’ll see that Pantone palettes are called “color books”, since in reality you can literally buy these guide booklets for your projects.

Pantone color books have a wide variety of categories including CYMK colors for print, RGB colors — both coated and uncoated as well as metallic color options.

The ‘Equator’ of Colors

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The Pantone color library is like the ‘equator’ of colors. You have colors which are very warm and are great for apps that need a bit of warmth, such as the app . Then you have colors which are cooler and great for apps targeting, say a younger user base or just has a cooler theme. Then Pantone also comes with ‘coated’ and ‘uncoated’ colors which have a slight difference in color vibrancy and overall contrast. The coated colors are more solid in nature and the uncoated colors are slightly washed out in nature.

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Both the palettes above are the same color choices but the one on the left is coated and one on the right is uncoated.

Actually Saves Time

I’ve seen designers, especially web designers go to sites like colorlovers and color-hex to find popular palettes and colors other designers have used and shared. This causes the ‘illusion’ of time being saved, but the amount of time spent on finding mediocre colors for your next project, which by the way, are often not the final colors that the designer uses. A good designer understands that it’s not always about trial and error, but spending some quality time discovering colors on one’s own self and finalizing a great looking line of colors for a project. The Pantone color library is a great way to start off with discovering new colors and combining colors from different palettes from different categories.

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Adobe color cc is a great tool built as a web app which can help to combine these Pantone colors based on whether you want analogous, monochromatic, triad, complimentary or shaded colors.

Take a Break from the Screen

Being a designer, one often sticks to the computer trying to come up with great ideas. Both Windows and Mac have great software platforms which eases the work of a designer. This dependence on software and online content starts acting like a drug that influences your designs. To reach another level of design wisdom one must try and avoid ‘inspiration’ and work from scratch using your own imagination and ideas. The drawing board is not dead, it’s still a thing for mature and experienced designers who know the importance of a physical design touch.

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Pantone has this wide range of palette books and booklets you can purchase from their online store, be it for print, digital design or packaging. Actually putting colors together physically is also more fun than putting them together on a computer. I’ve tried it many times and I always feel like a child with crayons and a piece of paper, only here the crayons signify the color guide and the paper is my knowledge of design and colors. Pantone also has an iOS app which literally puts color knowledge and a discovery tool into your palms. You can take pictures and pick up colors with it’s smart color picker, which is a great way to create your own colors palettes. Pantone also has a blog written by artists and designers are really good at colors, so go ahead and learn a thing or two.

Why Pantone over Others?

Except Pantone, you have color systems like CMYK, RGB, Crayola, HKS and a long list of other color systems. What you have to know is that Pantone is integrated into a range of software such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign. Pantone also has a huge collection of physical color palettes and books that you can buy online. Pantone also has an easy to use color system which allows you to just pick colors, however the ones available for RGB and CMYK need some extra knowledge of colors and the media you’re displaying your designs on. This system will help you out even if you’re a beginner, because trust me, I’ve been there. It’s not a shame to say your color choices are not that great. But I feel Pantone can even aid that. Personally, Pantone has been a very ‘inspiring’ color system, since a lot of it’s colors have made me change or move around my designs to suit the colors, and the designs have turned out pretty good. Here’s an example of the lovely color I created through the Pantone palette.

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This video features Chip Kidd, which except for sounding like a rapper’s name, is also a big name in Graphic design. He is very well known for his creative book covers. He’s mastered pantone, both in print as well as on screen.

Pantone is a great starting line for designers of all levels and is used wisely by many artists and designers as well, so there are a ton of resources on the Internet. I personally use Pantone for most of my color needs and I’d suggest everyone to do so.

Hope you liked this article and were able to gather some knowledge through it as well. If you want to see more of my design related content:

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