Pantone has declared “Peach Fuzz” the Color of the Year. This selection, however, raises the question: How did Pantone become the global authority on color? Above, the Wall Street Journal describes how Pantone began as a commercial printing company during the 1950s. Then, in the early 60s, it evolved into something quite different. Recognizing that its clients (and other companies) need to print materials with consistent colors, Pantone created a universal color language, the Pantone Matching System (PMS), where each color is assigned a specific number. For instance, “Peach Fuzz” corresponds to #FFBE98. As Slate points out, this system ensured that “printers and clients would have a shared reference when they talk to one another—an industry standard, so that a color would mean the same thing all the way from a designer’s vision to the printed item.” Over the next 60 years, Pantone continued to nurture the Pantone Matching System, undoubtedly generating significant revenue along the way and, more importantly, making itself the arbiter of color worldwide.
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