New World of Color —Sherburne
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.
And with a significant trend for brands to get on the “Green” bandwagon, they wanted more green, as well as more neutrals and naturals. And they absolutely wanted to ensure they could have the same level of confidence in a new system that the tried and true PANTONE Matching System engenders—an assurance that their designs can be accurately reproduced according to a reliable color standard, anywhere.
Printers. Printers wanted to be able to deliver the same high quality of work to their customers and, where possible, improve production efficiencies. The current system depends on 14 base colors, and there are some availability issues in some geographies. They need inks to be compatible with aqueous and UV coatings. And, as they move to thinner papers, they wanted Pantone to reach out to paper manufacturers to understand paper trends.
The Goe Difference. PANTONE Goe is a significantly expanded color set that is based on only 10 ink mixing bases with a stable global source of supply, allowing printers to do more with less, and they are compatible with both aqueous and UV coatings. The new GoeGuide will be produced on Pantone’s new press, using a uniform ink film thickness. With more in-line color measurement on today’s presses, this is a significant advantage for the press operator and saves time, offers a faster drying time and requires the use of less other materials, such as powders to dry sheets.
The colors are arrang-ed in a chromatic-like organization around 165 full-strength colors and the color families derived from them. It uses a three-part numbering system that reflects the color family, the page location within that family, and the placement of the color on the page.
Brown explains, “Imagine a pie with 165 slices, with slices 1 through 5 reflecting yellow; 1 represents bright yellow and 5 represents reddish yellow. So color 1-1-1 would be the lightest yellow, and 5-1-7 is the reddest yellow before we move to the orange color family. By the first digit, you know where your color is coming from on the color wheel, and the other numbers indicate the location of the color within the associated color family.”
Brown points out that if Pantone were to reproduce all of the colors based on color theory, there would be overlap. In the Goe development process, Pantone has stripped redundancy out and maintained a logical numbering process.
A Systems Approach. But Goe is much more than the guide books, as important as those are. It is an entire system that is comprised of:
• PANTONE GoeGuide, the color selection and specification guide, printed on bright white #1 grade 100-lb. coated offset text;
• PANTONE GoeSticks, a two-volume set of adhesive-backed color chips, which includes the PANTONE palette playground, a smooth plastic sheet lifter for use as a color palette test area, and palette cards used for creating, sharing and archiving color palettes;
• myPANTONE Palettes, interactive software for color selection and palette building, which integrates into any application supporting system level color pickers, on Mac or PC; and
• myPANTONE.com, an online community for palette sharing—sort of a professional MySpace for color enthusiasts.
With the interactive software, one of the first things it does is check to ensure that your monitor is calibrated, an obviously important first step to working in a color-managed environment.
One of its most exciting features is the imagePALETTE builder. “You can open a photograph and imagePALETTE builder will identify colors right out of the photo that you can use as palettes in your design,” Brown says. “And with the colorBLENDER, designers can ask the system to choose colors between a start and finish color. For example, maybe you want to start with orange and finish with beige. You can choose up to 83 individual steps between the colors that are mathematically computed.”
Why Goe? You might wonder where this new system name came from. Here is what Pantone has to say about its origin and meaning.
“When creating the first entirely new color system in nearly 50 years, Pantone needed a name that embodied the energy and spirit at the start of every inspiration. From that insight Goe was born. Goe is not just a name; it is a state of being. It is the moment when great ideas come to life. Goe is an action, an emotion and a tangible realization of the power of creativity.
“The ‘e’ in Goe is a vehicle to communicate the vastness of ideas that Goe can incite. Words like Goexpress, Goevolve and Goexplore (our primary descriptor) each highlight a different action that is brought to life through the Goe System. Like the system itself, the Goe namesake takes the best components of PMS—a short, concise, and easily recognizable name—and adds a new level of modernity. With the most innovative technologies and a compelling new name, Pantone’s latest color system is poised to help designers, printers, publishers, packagers and Web designers Goexplore like never before.”
Goe For It! Brown indicates that of the 2,058 new colors, there is approximately 40 percent crossover with the PANTONE Matching System. “For example,” she says, “a corporate brand color may have a 1 delta difference between the PANTONE Matching System, and Goe has a minimal difference that isn’t visible to the human eye. So the speed with which people migrate to the new system will depend on whether they want to take advantage of the capabilities of the new system. We expect the migration to be strong and fast.”
Get Going with Goe
In keeping with past history, Pantone is offering this system very cost-effectively. The entire system is available for $499, with guide books available at $129.
Both libraries, Goe and PANTONE Matching System, will be available in parallel, and users will have the ability to easily import new Goe libraries into all of the various applications they use, sharing color palettes across applications and people.
“In the past,” Brown notes, “you had to create individual palettes in each application, which takes a lot of time. Now you can just design the palette once and easily import it into all of the applications you use, as well as share it with friends and colleagues.” She also expects to see myPANTONE.com turn into a destination site for creatives to post and share their work in a very professional management environment.
As for printers, be the first on your block, so to speak, to learn about the PANTONE Goe System. Share the news with your customers and be a color thought leader. Help customers make the decision about whether and when to migrate to the new system.
And have some fun with it! PI
About the Author
Cary Sherburne is a well-known journalist, author and strategic marketing consultant working primarily with the printing and publishing industry. She is a frequent speaker at industry events, a regular contributor to industry publications and has written three books, which are available for purchase through the Bookstore section on Printing Impressions’ Website (www.piworld.com). Sherburne can be reached at Cary@SherburneAssociates.com.