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New World of Color —Sherburne

September 2007
PERHAPS THERE is nothing as pervasive in the printing industry as the familiar PANTONE Color guide books. We often live and die by our ability to match specific PANTONE Matching System (PMS) colors, and these 1,114 colors have been the standard in our industry for 45 years.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time talking about Pantone in this space, and how we can differentiate ourselves with customers by leveraging our color expertise. Now there is something new to learn and benefit from. After 45 years, Pantone is introducing a brand-new color specification system for the graphic arts industry called PANTONE Goe (pronouned Go). Don’t worry, the company is not retiring its venerable PANTONE Matching System. As Vice President of Marketing Doris Brown points out, “It would be arrogant to think that we could require corporate giants, designers and producers to make a change.” But the company also recognizes that the way people work with color in this digital age has changed dramatically, and the tools need to change, as well. That is why Pantone believes the Goe System will see rapid adoption in the marketplace.

Next-Gen PANTONE Goe

So what is PANTONE Goe? It is a new system with a chromatic-like arrangement of 2,058 colors. It includes the familiar swatch book, but it also includes a number of very cool tools that make it easier than ever before to work with color—on your own or collaboratively.

A little bit of background, first. There were two different dynamics going on within Pantone as PANTONE Goe was being developed. The first was an investment in the company’s infrastructure, including the recent purchase of a new press. At the same time, the company was talking with its customer base—both printers and designers—to make sure it understood what the requirements were, asking each constituency, “If we gave you a blank piece of paper, what would you want in a color specification system?” As expected, each group had different answers, but the new system does a nice job of addressing both. Pantone also reached out to paper manufacturers, ink licensees and top corporate brands to round out the data gathering phase.

Designers. Designers like the current fan guide. They want it to be small enough to easily fit in their hand, but they wanted it to be more chromatic. With the PANTONE Matching System, as new colors were added, they were added to the back of the guide, so it was not necessarily as intuitive as it could be. They also wanted to see a new naming strategy, something more intuitive than simply a sequential numbering system. And they, of course, don’t really care about ink mixing formulas, but they wanted the RGB values to be easily accessible.

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