Pantone has created an app to recognize the colors around us

Pantone has created an app to recognize the colors around us

Thibaud Genevois Franchi Published on 4/19/2024

Are you captivated by the hue of a particular flower or bag? With the Pantone Connect app and the Pantone Color Match Card, identifying their exact Pantone color code is now a matter of seconds. This is incredibly handy for graphic designers and those who adore colors, right?

Pantone color finder. Credits: Pantone

The Pantone Color Matching System

The Pantone brand is a household name among creatives, renowned for being the most widely recognized and utilized color matching system globally. Created in 1963, Pantone addressed the complex issue of color matching in the printing industry. It quickly established itself as the simplest method to categorize, communicate, and match colors, using a fan-shaped color guide. Every color, encompassing all hues and shades, received a numerical classification. Pantone essentially set the standard for color matching. Over nearly six decades, its color matching system has become fundamental, not just in design but also in industries like paint, textiles, and plastics. Additionally, since 2000, the Pantone Color Institute has been announcing the “Pantone Color of the Year” every early December. This selection significantly influences various sectors, including fashion, marketing, social media, and even political spheres.

Pantone catalog. Credits: Pantone
Color of the year 2020. Credits: Pantone

The Newest Pantone Tool for Identifying Real-World Colors

Pantone continues to innovate by introducing an app that pairs with a physical tool, enabling creatives to sample colors directly from their environment. It’s one thing to determine a color code on a computer screen, but replicating the exact shade of a tangible object has always been more challenging. Previously, one had to photograph the inspiring color, analyze and digitally extract it, often leading to unsatisfactory results due to lighting and image quality. Now, this process is as straightforward as obtaining a digital color. The combination of the Pantone Connect app and the Pantone Color Match Card allows for finding the closest Pantone color matches to physical objects and surfaces. The brand’s website even notes that the Pantone Color Match Card, under proper conditions, achieves a more precise color match than traditional color extraction from an image.

Pantone color flower. Credit: Pantone

How Does It Function?

The Pantone Color Match Card is a credit-card-sized accessory featuring various Pantone colors and a central opening. To match an object, surface, or colored medium to a Pantone shade, place this card against the desired color. The color is captured using the phone and app through dual illumination (flash and ambient light). The smartphone can then accurately identify this color, and the app provides a match with all existing Pantone color systems (PMS, FHI, CMYK, Skintone Guide). The identified color can be saved in a palette for future use and located in various Adobe Creative Cloud software. The Pantone Color Match Card is available for under 17 Euros and is compatible with both free and paid Pantone Connect accounts on IOS and Android.

Pantone Color Match Card. Credits: Pantone

The Smartphone as a Color Capturing Tool

Nick Bazarian, Pantone’s product manager for digital solutions, notes, “Designers were already using their phones to capture Pantone colors from images, but accuracy was challenging due to factors like poor lighting or camera quality.” With the Color Match Card and Pantone Connect app, the phone transforms into an accurate color capturing device, aligning the physical world with Pantone shades and enhancing workflow productivity at a minimal cost.

Pantone plant color. Credit: Pantone

While this Pantone innovation marks a significant leap for creative professionals, it isn’t entirely novel. In 2017, Quebec’s DIY chain Réno-Dépôt developed a comparable app, Live Swatches, allowing users to match real-time captured colors with the SICO paint line, exploring up to 1,800 color references.

Pantone’s latest offering bridges reality with the digital realm, letting you precisely capture the color of any object or an awe-inspiring sunset, and match it with Pantone shades. Now, it’s your turn to explore this color connection!