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Why is Pantone Important to Event Professionals?

By Nancy Stoltz, Creative Coverings

Knowing what Pantone is and how to follow the seasonal color trends will prepare you months in advance, especially if you have clients contacting you a year before their event to select their decor, floral and table linen colors.  Pantone is the leading authority on color for design industries, best known for its Pantone Matching System (PMS).  Fashion and interior designers, graphic designers, and florists, for example, follow the Pantone color system to match color swatches, as well as, use Pantone to check-in on what is trending from season to season.  Event professionals should be utilizing this tool as well so that they can inform their clients and potentially incorporate one or more of these color trends into their overall design theme.

Pantone started as a commercial printing company in the 1950’s. A chemist named Lawrence Herbert was hired in the late 50’s; he ultimately used his chemistry knowledge to create a systematic stock of pigments and production of colors.  In the early 60’s he purchased the company and renamed it “Pantone”. The company is known for producing annual Pantone Guides bound in a fan deck that incorporates a large number of tiny cardboard sheets with a range of related color swatches, i.e. various tints of blues.  Every color has its own “PMS” (Pantone Matching System) number which enables designers to specifically match any color in the guide.

Every year, Pantone declares a “Color of the Year.”  This particular color is actually thought out over a year in advance by representatives from various nations who meet twice a year to present and debate on what this color is going to be.  The color ultimately connects to the spirit of the time, or “Zeitgeist”, so-to-say.  It truly represents what is going on culturally and economically in the world.  When Pantone announced the 2013 color of the year, Emerald, the reasoning was that this color “served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity.”  This year’s color of the year, Radiant Orchid, was chosen because “it reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”

The color of the year is announced annually in early December; however, Pantone also announces several seasonal color trends for Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer about six months prior to the actual seasons.  These colors, along with a full fashion report can be found on www.pantone.com and generally announced at the same time as New York Fashion Week (early September for Spring trends; early February for Fall trends).

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