The New Black: Inside the Pantone Process

The New Black: Inside the Pantone Process

Jennifer Hunter
May 2, 2012

Pantone, that mysterious and secretive color deity, is well-known as the last word on all things color. But who are the people whose tastes dictate which colors you'll love two years from now? And how do they decide?

Tom Vanderbilt was granted access (although his identity as a journalist was hidden so as not to influence the discussion) to the secret meeting to create the Summer 2013 edition of Pantone View, which will be distributed to a broad spectrum of industries, including some you wouldn't guess (supermarkets? florists?). His fascinating article for Slate reveals unprecedented details about the process of color forecasting.

It's easy to trivialize a group whose sole purpose is guiding the color choices of other creatives, from fashion to furniture, but remember, these industries thrive on the new and fresh, which makes successful color forecasting tantamount to billions of dollars' worth of merchandise.

As for the actual tastemakers themselves, their identities remain so mysterious that the author refers to them by nationality. Their discussion covers topics from religious influence to economics to the local food movement, all within the debate of where color is headed. They present their ideas with passion and even use props as evidence, and it's clear they're a diverse group of color professionals who take their jobs very, very seriously.

The process is far from the random color selection that some might imagine. And while there are always questions as to whether Pantone's research is pinpointing burgeoning trends in global society or, because of its influence, actually creating these trends, the fact remains it's garnered a rock-solid reputation for a reason -- accuracy.

Read the full article at Slate Magazine. It's a riveting read which will make you look at what you buy in a whole new way.

(Image: Slate)

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