New PANTONE PLUS Improves on an Industry Standard
When Pantone came out with the new improved GOE system, which was a start-from-scratch rethink-the-whole-approach and reformulate-the-colors approach to color matching, they had an excellent idea: better control, more colors, closer matching and many other features designers should have liked. But they didn't.
As good as the GOE system is and as big an improvement over the old PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM that it is—for so many reasons—designers and printers thought there was no need to change. It was not a resounding success even though it's an excellent color matching system.
The users of Pantone's color swatch books had a point. Printers have been using the PMS color guides for decades and they are clearly an industry standard. There is hardly a printing company or design studio that does not have a few Pantone swatch books lying around. And even though many of them are old enough not to be terribly accurate, they are still used every day. So why switch?
We could give a slew of reasons to switch, not the least of which is you really should replace anything that is color critical every few years: inks fade, paper yellows, ink gets dropped on them and so on. Add to that the fact that the GOE color science and matching ability is better. But the point is that printers had something they were used to and that worked for them and printers only change if they really have to. The middle of a global recession is probably not the best time for reinventing the wheel.
So instead, Pantone went back to the system everyone knows and loves and rather than radically changing it, they simply improved it. If I tell you GOE is better, you might believe me, but chances are if you're a buyer for a design studio you are going to order what your people are comfortable and familiar with. That's really the essence of PANTONE PLUS.
What the company has done is add 224 new colors and some neon, pastel and metallic chips and improved some of the paper and printing specifications for creating the swatch books.
I'm glad Pantone is not dropping the GOE line. They have built the new PANTONE PLUS specs into the slick Color Manager they created when GOE was initially released. And it is hoped that users will use the two matching systems as complementary to one another. In the meantime, the folks at Pantone are giving their users what they want—more colors and some other improvements, without giving them the headaches of switching the way they think about color matching. It's a lot easier for printers and designers to wrap their heads around. That's not a slight to the intelligence of printers and designers, it's simply an illustration of just how complicated the art and science of matching colors is.
Here's what's in the new Pantone Plus Swatch books:
PANTONE PLUS SERIES FORMULA GUIDE and SOLID CHIPS
The FORMULA GUIDE and SOLID CHIPS introduce 224 new solid colors for a total of 1,341 colors, offering designers more options and flexibility in the creative process. The new colors are formulated with the same 14 ink bases that were the foundation of the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM, ensuring that printers worldwide can reproduce the new colors when specified. Consistent ink film thicknesses make the new colors easier for printers to match on press.
PANTONE PLUS SERIES COLOR BRIDGE
After extensive technical research, development and testing, a single version suitable for worldwide use is now available. The new COLOR BRIDGE guide has been printed within today's ISO specifications and G7 processes, with the exception of a more desirable, optically brightened paper.
PANTONE PLUS SERIES CMYK
The new CMYK guide offers a smoother progression of 2,886 CMYK colors for four-color process printing. The guide is printed with bio-friendly ISO-certified inks using a digital workflow within ISO specifications and G7 processes, but on optically brightened paper, allowing for a single version that is suitable for worldwide use.
PANTONE PLUS SERIES PREMIUM METALLICS and PREMIUM METALLICS CHIPS
The PANTONE PLUS SERIES provides significantly enhanced tools for working with specialty colors that add flair and pop to any design. PREMIUM METALLICS includes 300 new, non-leafing metallics that have been formulated for greater brilliance even when coated.
PANTONE PLUS SERIES PASTELS & NEONS and PASTELS & NEONS CHIPS
Neon colors have been gaining popularity in print, spurred by the sportswear, swimwear and footwear markets. To satisfy this increasing demand, PASTELS & NEONS offers a broad collection of 154 pastels with 56 neon colors.
Stephen Beals is a veteran prepress manager with some 30 years of experience in the commercial print business. He has written hundreds of articles for dozens of publications and owns the website "Printoolz" for software for print and multimedia production. Stephen also founded his own murder mystery dinner theatre troupe and is a Presbyterian pastor.