In the years before Pantone color presented its system of numerical names for different shades of colors, there was no standardization for colors. This meant that logos printed by different branches of a printing firm would look, slightly at best, different! Even the United States flag was vulnerable to this sort of inconsistency.
In 1956, Pantone print shop had not yet come up with its signature color system. The company was $50,000 in debt when Lawrence Herbert came aboard. Herbert not only pulled the company out of debt, he catapulted the business into the multi-million dollar corporation it is today (in 2007, the company sold for $180,000,000).
Herbert rolled out the standardized color system in 1963, and in doing so, forever changed the industry. Companies and organization marketers striving for a cohesive, consistent marketing campaign immediately picked up on the need to establish set Pantone colors for their materials. The system is still in use today.
In addition to helping other companies and organizations with their marketing by providing a structure for consistency, Pantone was also excellent at marketing itself.
The company presents a Color of the Year – a color they deem needed or represented by a given year. Consider the color mimosa, named for mimosa flowers. This color was made popular in 2008, and has remained in the eye of the public ever since – at least, as much as any one color ever is.
Here’s a brief article on the color Mimosa.
Most of us understand ‘consistency in branding’ as content cohesiveness in the areas of voice, subject matter, and perspective. We take for granted the ability to generate a logo the same way, by any number of different producers – and it was not always so. Pantone has been alive and successful before and after digital technology breakthroughs. Clearly, Herbert is a visionary. And last we checked, he was still head of the company, thriving away.
May we all be so lucky to prosper in our creative ventures!