Have you ever wondered how manufactures end up with the same colors, and who made the Pantone chip?
In the early 1960’s Lawrence Herbert, owner of the Pantone printing company wanted to create a “universal language” of color. He knew that each manufacture had a different name for the same color. His solution: make a unified system in which a number expressed each shade. If a person in New York want something printed in London, all they had to do was open the Pantone chip book and say “I want Pantone 123.” Anywhere in the world Pantone 123 is the same shade of daffodil yellow. After creating a sample page, Herbert sent it to ink makers explaining how his system works. He still has that sample page 50 years later.
Pantone has spread beyond the advertising world to textiles, food services, and other unexpected uses. When asked about unusual uses, Herbert gave examples, such as defining the color of a Ben & Jerry’s brownie, matching color charts of wine, walnuts, strawberries and goldfish.
Lawrence Herbert is now retired, and even in retirement he takes an avid interest in color.