Pantone not only owns the color matching market, it has captured the world’s attention with its iconic paint-chip imagery and prolific product branding.
For many products in the industry, the logo is just along for the ride. End users don’t always keep a product because it has a logo, but because they find the item useful or interesting.
However, a small number of companies have succeeded in building brand awareness that goes much beyond general recognition. These companies have created logo and brand markers that consumers crave and associate with creative design and culture.
An example of a company that has reached the higher echelons of brand recognition is Pantone, whose iconic, square-shaped color chips are recognizable to people inside and outside of the design industry—Pantone’s target market. Pantone-branded goods routinely crop up in fashion and shelter magazines, as well as design-centric shops and websites.
“While Pantone has extreme value for color quality and reproduction, we have always been the ‘designers’ brand, creating inspirational color tools, applications and technologies, and trends to empower designers across all industries with the color knowledge and know-how to use color in innovative ways,” explains Lisa Herbert, vice president of Pantone’s customer division. “Over the past 10 years we have leveraged this know-how and extended it beyond our core designer audiences to a broader group of consumers that enjoy color and want to integrate it more expertly into their lives, home and fashion. Today, Pantone is synonymous with color and becoming more important in the consumer realm.”
Since its inception in 1963, Pantone has become the internationally recognized leader in color matching and is a critical production tool in the promotional products industry. Its products serve to guarantee colors remain consistent throughout all the steps of a printing or manufacturing project.
“Early on, the owners of Pantone felt it was important to innovate beyond the original business focused on the graphic arts. Moving into fashion, home and technologies allowed us to speak to a larger customer base,” Herbert says. “In the early ’80s, we realized that understanding how color impacts business, sales and the consumer was of enormous interest, so we began to study this and report on it in the media. This further established Pantone as the color authority. This authority and credibility allowed us to extend into the product area.”
Today, products aimed at anyone other than Pantone’s core market of design professionals are housed in a product line called Pantone Universe, which includes fashion accessories, eyewear, home furnishings, electronics—even bicycles and Visa cards—and all are emblazoned with the unmistakable Pantone color chip.
“These new products have attracted a young, hip clientele that may love fashion and design but may not necessarily be in the field,” Herbert says. “This provides us with a new base of customers to launch additional new products.”
Don’t forget: You can always stock up on Pantone color matching products at the PPAI Resource Center, www.ppai.org/bookstore.