Pantone Trivia: Fun Facts about Pantone Matching System

by | Oct 27, 2021

pantone swatchDid you know that Pantone is the most widely used color matching system in every country? (Except Japan who uses the TOYO Color Finder and DIC Color Guide.)


If you’re not a design guru and have never heard of Pantone, the Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a color management system used by graphic, industrial interior, apparel, beauty, and textile designers to get the most accurate and consistent color in branding and printing. Although Pantone doesn’t sell ink, it specifies the correct proportions of each plate color (CMYK) to yield the accurate color. As of 2019, it has 2161 colors and is considered the industry standard for print.


Here’s a list of some little-known (and some well-known) facts about Pantone:


Pantone’s Trend-Setting Color of the Year

According to Colorcom, having a color associated with your brand can increase brand recognition by 80%, and it can impact the number of sales of your product by 84.7%. In 2000, Pantone launched its first color of the year – Cerulean, representing peace, serenity, and relaxation. Every year since then, the company hosts a meeting two times a year with several color standard groups to discuss the next new “it” color. Here is the list of the Color of the Year winners from 2000-2021:


• 2000: Cerulean

• 2001: Fuchsia Rose

• 2002: True Red

• 2003: Aqua Sky

• 2004: Tigerlily

• 2005: Blue Turquoise

• 2006: Sand Dollar

• 2007: Chili Pepper

• 2008: Blue Iris

• 2009: Mimosa

• 2010: Turquoise

• 2011: Honeysuckle

• 2012: Tangerine Tango

• 2013: Emerald

• 2014: Radiant Orchid

• 2015: Marsala

• 2016: Rose Quartz & Serenity

• 2017: Greenery

• 2018: Ultra Violet

• 2019: Living Coral

• 2020: Classic Blue

• 2021: Illuminating & Ultimate Gray 


Sponsorships & Collaborations

Pantone has done several sponsorships and collaborations with companies all over the world and touches almost every industry out there. Here is a small taste of what they’ve done:


U.S. Army + Pantone

Back in November 2004, the U.S Army adopted a 19-color palette of color standards for non-proprietary exterior paint colors and architecture for all Army facilities worldwide created by Pantone.


Sephora + Pantone

In late 2011 and again in 2016, Sephora and Pantone paired up to create a collection based on their corresponding colors of the year – Tangerine Tango (2012) and Serenity and Rose Quartz (2016). Tangerine Tango’s eyeshadow palette, lipsticks, and nail polish were a huge hit, paving the success for 2016’s line. 


INTIMINA + Pantone

In 2020, to reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation and to enable everyone, regardless of gender or age, to feel comfortable talking openly about periods, INTIMINA collaborated with Pantone to create the color Period, a radiant shade of red to encourage period positivity to serve as their visual identifier for their new Seen+Heard campaign, which INTIMINA has donated £2,000 (around 2,600 U.S. Dollar) to ActionAid.


This partnership led to INTIMINA receiving a Best Global Creative Idea and PR Breakthrough 2020.


SHEBA + Pantone

More recently, Pantone collabed with SHEBA to create the color SHEBA Hope to draw more attention to the destruction of coral reefs. The SHEBA Hope Reef is a coral reef reconstruction program that will help preserve coral reefs with special steel structures called reef stars to grow on. You can check out more about the SHEBA Hope Reef here.


Trademarked and Ownership of Pantone Colors

Numerous companies out there have a trademark or ownership of a Pantone color! The most notorious color being PMS 1837 Tiffany Blue of Tiffany and Co. The beautiful robin-egg blue boxes they use are recognized worldwide! The Tiffany Blue is a registered trademarked color, produced as a private custom color by Pantone. Here are some companies that have a trademarked color from Pantone:


• Minions: Minion Yellow

• T-Mobile: Magenta

• Milka: Lilac

• Fiskars Scissors: Orange

• McDonald’s: Yellow and Red

• Target: Target Red

• UPS: Brown

• Dewalt Power Tools: Yellow and Black

• John Deere: Green and Yellow

• Caterpillar: Caterpillar Yellow

• Mattel: Barbie Pink

• Reeses: Orange


Cool (Expensive) Products and Tools

Not only do they sell color books, fashion guides, mugs, umbrellas, and hip flasks, but they also sell some super handy tools to help any type of designer out there!


Lighting Indicator Sheets

Pretend you just got a proof of your new flyer printed in your Pantone colors. You want to make sure the colors are accurate, but you’re unsure what the best lighting is to view it. Lucky for you, Pantone has Pantone Lighting Indicator Stickers! Just peel one of the 40 light-sensitive dual-toned stickers onto your proof and check it out! If the stickers look to be a match, you’re in ample lighting to view your work. But, if the patch colors look different, you’re in incorrect lighting, and it can lead to a mistake in your work if not caught prior.


Forgot to order a sticker sheet, but have a Pantone Formula Guide on hand? No problem! The back-end card of the Formula Guide has a Lighting Indicator as well, just not in sticker form. 


Pantone Light Booth

Don’t have a good place to view color accuracy and not willing to spend big bucks to change that? The Pantone Light Booths are just for you! You can purchase a 5-light or 3-light configuration with two different bulb options – D50 (Horizon, Late Afternoon, or Morning Lighting) and D65 (Daytime, Noon Lighting). 



Want something really cool to show off to your co-workers and friends? Then get the Pantone CAPSURE! A super handy tool that can quickly and accurately match a color from any surface or fabric into a Pantone. This on-the-go handheld will match to the closest Pantone even on small patterns or textures, and it even updates with the latest Pantone Colors automatically when available. 


Ugliest Pantone Color

Did you know that there was a color selected in 2016 for “Ugliest color in the world”? It’s Pantone 448 C, a sludge-like color that resembles the plain tobacco and cigarette packaging in Australia. 

pantone color

(Photo from


Closing Thoughts

Well, there you have it! Did you learn something new about Pantone? As a marketing agency, we understand the importance of color and having the correct color for all your designs. If you’re interested in learning more about our graphic design services at Transformation Marketing, give us a call at 402-788-2896! 


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