Pantone Inc. is a corporation headquartered in Carlstadt, New Jersey, USA. The company is best known for its Pantone Matching System (PMS), a proprietary color space used in a variety of industries, primarily printing, though sometimes in the manufacture of colored paint, fabric, and plastics.
In October 2007, X-Rite Inc, a supplier of color measurement instruments and software, purchased Pantone Inc for $180 million.
Pantone began as a commercial printing company in the 1950s. In 1956, they hired recent Hofstra University graduate Lawrence Herbert as a part-time employee. Herbert used his chemistry knowledge to systematize and simplify the company's stock of pigments and production of colored inks; by 1962, Herbert was running the ink and printing division at a profit, while the commercial-display division was $50,000 in debt; he subsequently purchased the company's technological assets from his employers and renamed them "Pantone".
The company's primary products include the Pantone Guides, which consist of a large number of small (approximately 6×2 inches or 15×5 cm) thin cardboard sheets, printed on one side with a series of related color swatches and then bound into a small "fan deck". For instance, a particular "page" might contain a number of yellows of varying tints.
The idea behind the PMS is to allow designers to 'color match' specific colors when a design enters production stage—regardless of the equipment used to produce the color. This system has been widely adopted by graphic designers and reproduction and printing houses for a number of years now. Pantone recommends that PMS Color Guides be purchased annually as their inks become more yellow over time. Color variance also occurs within editions based on the paper stock used (coated, matte or uncoated), while interedition color variance occurs when there are changes to the specific paper stock used.
Original Pantone Color Matching System
The Pantone Color Matching System is largely a standardized color reproduction system. By standardizing the colors, different manufacturers in different locations can all refer to the Pantone system to make sure colors match without direct contact with one another.
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