I could have worked for Pantone

Pantonepinks
It’s not that I have a color fixation. Well, actually, I guess I do. Even as a child the various colors available in paint sets fascinated me. But it was many years before I became as aware as I am now of the infinite shades available and how important it is in printing and publishing to get them exactly right.

It seemed logical that, having published Pantone’s Color of the Year, I also post this interesting little video about what goes on inside the Pantone factory. For the record, in this video I could not see the difference between the two sides of the yellow-brown strip without pausing the video and looking closely, but I could easily see that one pink was more red than the other. (Well, it was obvious the first time, not so obvious in subsequent viewings. I wonder if there’s a way to cleanse one’s visual “palette” …)

My hat’s off to the people who make these distinctions all day, every day, as part of their jobs. “Color blindness” seems a likely occupational hazard, or more accurately, some sort of visual fatigue. You’d think by now a spectrometer or computer would be making such judgments. But no, at Pantone, humans still have the last word.

Too bad there’s no way to turn off the irritating music without killing the voiceover:

Wait, they still collate by hand? …



Categories: art/design

8 replies

  1. Being officially colourblind I’d be hopeless in this job

    I was always taught and believe that colour blindness is peculiar to men and the defect is passed down to them through their mothers; so I wonde; why do they bother testin the women?

    Many years ago I did read of a case of a colourblind female and extensive tests were carried out by the confounded experts.It transpired that this woman was actually an Hermaphrodite.

    No I didn’t get this from Mr Ripley 🙄

    • LOL. I don’t recall that color blindness is exclusive to men. Only that there are several types of color blindness. But I’m no expert. I think you’re right; you’d be a poor candidate for a job at Pantone.

      • According to the usually reliable Wikipedia colour blindness afflicts around 8% of males and I think it says .04% of females. So that puts the Kyber on the story of the Hermaphrodie, and I always enjoyed relating that one! 😦 😀

  2. Ooh! Thanks for posting this! I agonize over color for the layouts here and on Diaryland (the mirror to my LiveJournal). I did see the difference on the brown, but I also have my monitor turned up. (Yep, there goes my sleep for the night.) Glad I’m not the only one who notices, and cares, about this stuff. When I had that brief stint with Bob the Slob, I learned a lot about color and packaging inks. Did you know Coke Red is a proprietary color? There is no other shade of red exactly like it in the world. If I’m not mistaken (and I could be), it’s trademarked.

    • Doggone it, another comment missed for lack of a notification. Sorry.

      I didn’t know about Coke Red. Obviously they could establish that Pantone Red #so-and-so will be the standard wherever they use red, but setting a Pantone standard for uniformity is a whole lot different from having their own proprietary red. I can see that bringing about some interesting court cases. Not sure how they’d get away with trademarking a color that they didn’t create and that existed long before they came along. Like some of the biological stuff that can’t be trademarked.

      Color has fascinated me for as long as I can remember, all the way back to my first box of 64 Crayons. What a treasure that was!! And all those cool names!

  3. LordBear is right. More men are colorblind as the gene is on the X chromosome and handed over by the mom – women are often carriers, but not colorblind themselves. There’s lots of levels of colorblindness though.
    What a cool job – color scanner and sorter. Wonder how often they rest their eyes – looking out the window at least once an hour or being in natural light outside is supposed to be the best way to refresh eyes….kids in schools should do that more.

    • I wonder what they look at to “refresh” their color receptors? I understand how looking at different focal distances rests the eyes (their focusing), but I’d think they’d have to look at areas of certain colors, like white walls or something, to sort of return their receptors to normal, get rid of after imagining, etc.

      As for the color blindness, I had to laugh over the televised football game a month or two ago where the retro uniforms worn were in colors that made it impossible for those who were colorblind to distinguish the teams.

“The opinions of others should not deter you from being yourself..” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

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