PANTONE Goe System-The Evolution of Color Spec

The system known as the PANTONE Matching System–PMS–needs little introduction to the professional graphic design world. We endeavor to give one, however, in order to set the stage for what is to follow.

Since 1962, when the first 500 PMS colors were formulated, designers–graphic and otherwise–have come to depend on the PMS to specify an exact spot color, exactly formulated by PANTONE, which was a known quantity regardless of the viewer or display device. CMYK can vary from output to output, but PMS 368 should always reproduce uniformly–Quark, Inc. depends on this.

Since its debut, the PMS has grown to over 1,100 individual color formulations and the PMS has become the standard in achieving application-independent color across the seemingly limitless combinations of composition and layout software, display hardware and production hardware.

What Becomes a Legend Most?

Pantone Goe System

The PANTONE Goeâ„¢ System. Image Courtesy PANTONE.

The PMS, an essential tool in the designer’s color spec box, is very good. But how does one improve on the standard? We don’t quite know how we’d do it, but we think our idea would probably come very close to the new PANTONE Goeâ„¢ System.

As suggested in Jeremy Schultz’s article on the nuts and bolts of the new system, it’s a complete rethinking of how colors are mixed and referenced. It isn’t intended to replace PMS, but it will function as an innovative adjunct to the PMS–providing a new way to think about and communicate color in the PANTONE way.

The Sum of the Parts

The PANTONE Goeâ„¢ System comprises both print and software components that allow designers to specify and effectively communicate color on a level that the PMS does not yet provide–and with more than twice as many color possiblities. The parts include:

  • The PANTONE GoeGuideâ„¢–a fan-guide, similar to PMS swatch guides, containing all new Goe System colors, arranged in the logical Goe numerical progression. All a user needs know is the Goe System numeric, and they should be able to go straight to the color.
  • PANTONE GoeSticksâ„¢–Two volumes of innovative adhesive color chips that can be arranged temporarily on a “Palette Playground” and then, when a palette is decided on, stuck permanently on palette cards for future reference
  • myPANTONEâ„¢ Palettes–software that makes choosing and exploring color in the PANTONE Goe System childs’ play, and helps to analyze images to produce custom palettes, which can also be shared with the world via the online community.

A designer wishing to come to spec color for a corporate web presence might proceed perforce:

  1. Gathering image files from the client, the designer can analyze them via the myPANTONE Palettes’ imagePALETTE builder. This will isolate individual distinctive colors within the system and provide ways to save these combinations. They can also share and get feedback from fellow designers and chromophiles at
  2. Once a few likely combinations are found, the designer might then use the PANTONE GoeSticks to experiment with how the colors look in combination, using the Palette Playground. If a few combinations catch that designer’s eye, they can be transferred to a palette card for future reference
  3. After the color palette has been decided upon, the designer can then turn to the GoeGuide and use the information to translate the palette into RGB and PMS equivalents. Any other Goe System user will be able to go directly to the color required, using the logical Goe System numbering progression

Pantone Goe Imagepalette builder

myPANTONE Palettes in action (Image Courtesy PANTONE)

This is just one possible workflow. It is probably apparent that with multiple points of entry, one of the PANTONE Goe System’s chief strengths is flexibility. If someone wanted to start by, for instance, playing with GoeSticks, there’s nothing to stop them. For those who love riffling through a swatch guide, the information gleaned there can “go” directly into myPANTONE Palettes for further experimentation.

The Tao of Goe

PANTONE Goe System is not, as mentioned, intended as a replacement for PMS–at any event, not straight away. With its simplified and structured way of looking at color, from the reduced number of commonly-available inks forming the basics of the mixing system to the way it bridges the gap between chips, guides, and software enabling enhanced communication and sharing, it certainly suggests a way that color speccing could evolve from the present state of the art.

PANTONE has always been about standard, predictable results. With the PANTONE Goe System there comes the possiblity more confusion-free sharing and communicating of what everyone wants, which means that no matter who looks at your specifications, you’ll likely get what was intended, which is definitely a win-win situation for everybody.

The PANTONE Goe System is slated for release 1 October 2007.

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