Monday, August 11, 2008

All the Pretty Colors

As I mentioned in my Crazy Eights Day post, I’m beginning to work through the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection, and it’s opening up a whole new world of graphic design for this non-designer. As I’m feeling my way through these programs, one of the more useful tools is having a guesswork-free color system at my fingertips – the Pantone Matching System (PMS).

Since 1963, the PMS in its fan-shaped book filled with the whole spectrum of colors and their formulas has standardized how colors are used across media. For instance, for this blog’s masthead I used Pantone 219 and Pantone Cool Gray 11.

I appreciate the “what you see is what you get” quality to the color charts. Pick a color. Done. No fumbling through CMYK adjustments to get that perfect hue (but hey, maybe that’s your thing! I’m just not good like that!)

More recently, the folks at Pantone have gone beyond the fan books and produced movable and removable swatches. There’s a great Flickr stream that shows just how the PMS applies to everyday life! (Note: if you ever had a burning desire to know the PMS equivalent of Patrick the starfish from SpongeBob SquarePants, this link’s for you.)

While I probably won’t masquerade as a Creative Director any time soon, it’s fun learning new skills (and I appreciate what the real designers do that much more!)

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