What is your favorite color?
Mine is 306.
306U to be exact (306C is a little too pedantic for my tastes). I know a lot of people like 300, or some like the warmer 2738. My favorite used to be 3005, but either my eyes have changed or I’ve just lost that emotional connection to 3005. It happens.
Welcome to my world, where colors are numbers. The Pantone Matching System (PMS) defines my favorite color, with numbers that are all different shades of blue.
My favorite color has always been blue. I don’t know exactly why (water? sky? my eye colors? Howlin’ Wolf?). It just sort of is. But I’m a design nerd and just saying “blue” won’t suffice. Nor does it make sense when choosing brand colors. There are thousands of shades of blue. Each shade can evoke a different feeling and help tell your story. The color is you. We need to be able to find your right shade of blue. Which is why we turn to the Pantone book.
Have you seen a Pantone book?
The process is pretty cool actually. Pantone is where we go to pick your brand colors. It’s not like picking paint colors with names like “Juliet’s Potion” or “Lemonade”. Your brand colors need to work in every format where your brand appears — website, embroidered on a polo, printed on a brochure, on your building signs, etc. Precision and consistency are key. Pantone provides precise formulas so that your logo can appear as consistently as possible in any format. Hence the numbers… and the coinciding formulas for print and digital representations.
Color consistency can be difficult to manage. But it’s necessary.
As precise as Pantone is, there are so many variables in the way color is reproduced and how we see it. My favorite color blue (306) will never look EXACTLY the same in every format. Computer monitors generate color much differently than printing inks. Blue 306 changes a bit when on shiny outdoor surfaces than on matte surfaces in a dimly lit room. There is no way around those variables. Once we pick color, we are always tweaking the secondary formulas so that everything matches as close as possible. That way, I can recognize my blue, and your brand, wherever I am.
So, what’s your favorite color?
Oh… and here is my favorite color: