Pantone's Color Matching System

Color has power in consumer behavior. Research conducted by the Seoul International Color Expo documented 92.6% of respondents report placing the most importance on visual factors such as color when purchasing products. Our interpretation of color is almost instantaneous – a study conducted by the Institute for Color Research suggests that, within 90 seconds of viewing a product or an environment, people make subconscious assessments based on color. When it comes to brands, the University of Loyola, Maryland conducted a study of color that suggests brand colors increase brand recognition by up to 80%.

“It is a visual language we all understand, one whose message crosses genders, generations, and geographies… Learning more about the unique meanings particular colors give voice to helps us to be a more expressive, closely connected society, one that provides people with a more holistic understanding of their peers and communities alike.” 

– Laurie Pressman, Vice-President of the Pantone Color Institute

Each year, Pantone’s Color of the Year influences product development and purchasing decisions across an array of industries. Pantone’s experts are unmatched in their knowledge of how color and design impact consumer behavior. When new colors of the year are announced, such as Viva Magenta, Pantone offers inspirational social media filters, products, and color palettes that highlight the color.

Initiated in 2000 with the announcement of Cerulean Blue, the Pantone Color of the Year highlights the connection between color and culture. Winning colors have become increasingly influential in design and marketing ever since. The Pantone Color Institute undergoes extensive research, analyzing color trends throughout the year to arrive at its Color of the Year selection each December.

Pantone's History

Pantone is the most important color matching system in the world. In 1963, Pantone introduced the first color matching system to solve the problem of complicated color matching in the printing industry. Pantone is the easiest and simplest way to reference and match colors with the use of a fan deck color guide.

Pantone fan decks allocate each color with a specific code and include the color’s Light Reflectance Value, a vital visibility factor to consider in signage design. The Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) recommend a contrast in Light Reflectance Values between sign text and background colors of 70% or above. ASI offers a free LRV Contrast Calculator to simplify the process of ensuring your signage color choices meet or come close to the 70% contrast mark.

The Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a system to maintain the consistency of color on printed materials. Color matching is essential to upholding brand identity across all platforms – from brochures to promotional items to signage. For online marketing, Pantone converts specific colors into their corresponding RGB and HEX codes that are more commonly used in digital platforms.

Utilizing the Pantone Matching System keeps all parties involved in a signage program – the designer, client and production team – on the same page. Once a design enters the production stage, confirming a color sample against a Pantone fan deck is a vital step in quality control. Pantone recommends replacing fan deck color guides every 12-18 months, especially if using it to quality control or approve a sample, as the colors fade and change over time and with wear.

Print vs Paint

Keep in mind that Pantone is a system for print – think ink and paper. Pantone provides the dictionary to a language consisting purely of colors for print. When translating colors specified from the Pantone system into signage, there is a distinct process required in order to match it with a corresponding color of paint, vinyl or other material.

For example, the primary ASI colors are ASI Blue, Pantone 2925, and ASI Golden Yellow, Pantone 7409. For each color, ASI has corresponding RGB and HEX codes for digital applications as well as formulas for paint. Paint can vary in hue or vibrance depending upon factors such as the number of coats applied, the surface it is applied to, and whether or not a primer coat is applied.

Like Pantone’s Color of the Year, ASI’s colors have symbolic qualities. ASI Blue, Pantone 2925, conveys trust, integrity, dependability and strength. ASI Golden Yellow, Pantone 7409, conveys optimism, clarity, warmth and a sense of pride.

Over our 60 years of experience, ASI’s Sales Consultants and Graphic Designers have worked alongside clients to cultivate their brand presence by leveraging our color knowledge – turning Pantone color palettes into physical signage within a space. Request a consultation today to discuss how ASI can assist your organization to achieve its signage goals in 2024 and beyond.


Pantone Color of the Year 2022