This post is about Pantone. It won’t be about trying to convince you that Pantone is the authority on all things color (though in the world of design, the argument could be made convincingly in favor). It’s about Pantone’s transformation into something larger: A multinational brand spanning industries beyond design.
Pantone originally began as a commercial printing company in the 1950’s, eventually expanding their pallet to a series of colorful swatches, known as Pantone Guides, for assisting designers in matching specific colors during the production and printing stage. Since the early 2000’s they’ve run a number of unique campaigns playing into an overall strategy to integrate with consumer markets outside of design such as medical, home goods and fashion.
The color-keyed Pantone mug, first launched in 2005, was the flagship product from their Pantone Universe of licensed products. Since then, licensed product and partnerships have grown to nearly 15% of their business.
Take for instance, the Pantone hotel in Brussels, a colorful piece of branding built from the ground up for hospitality and Instagrammability.
Pantone has also continued to stay relevant throughout the years by associating itself with popular brands and appealing to younger demographics. It has created colors exclusively for certain brands such as Minions yellow, Tiffany blue, and four colors for Albici bicycles. For a time, Urban Outfitters sold Pantone branded products such as coasters, phone cases, ornaments and bedding.
The Bigfish design team, by the way, loves them some Pantone colors. And they’re no strangers to the power of great branding, they weren’t particularly surprised by the Pantone-as-brand-icon phenomena. In a world where branding has come to matter so much, and where colors mean so much to brands, it makes total sense.
Want to know what Pantone colors the Bigfish design team loves? Glad you asked: