Pantone-The First Color Standard
IMAGINE A WORLD in which every ink manufacturer used its own formulas: No one could be certain whether the color put on press would be the one the client wants. Welcome to 1963.
Lawrence Herbert, then working a temporary job at the Pantone printing company in New York City, was tired of the trial-and-error of color matching and had an idea that gave rise to a brave new world of color: "Why not put out one book of formulas and have all the ink companies join in as a co-op?"
He sent a sample page of his color book to each of the 21 ink manufacturers based in North America at that time. Within two weeks, he recalls, he received 20 orders for the completed product. Because each of those companies had several branches, Herbert's book found its way into 132 separate locations.
Within two years, Herbert bought out the partners of the printing company, moved it to Carlstadt, NJ, and "by 1967, we had a worldwide color communication system," he recalls.
Herbert recounts that his PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM (PMS) began with: "the major group of pigment colors: reds, yellows, blues, greens, etc. Interblending (them made) a nice hue circle going from yellow around and back to yellow. We added white and black to make a whole system."
These colors and ink formulas were printed in a fan-out book for the printers and ink manufacturers, and on chips for the designers. "But the designers were working with materials that didn't match the printing inks," he points out.
So Herbert developed products that matched, and were made with, the PMS printing inks: papers, acetates, markers. "For the first time, designers were able to show a comp to their clients and know that it would (match through) the printing method," Herbert states.