Need a (legit) Pantone color chart
June 11, 2013 9:16 AM   Subscribe

At work we want to put up a certain type of pantone color chart on the website so that people can at least see approximate colors. I'm well aware of the issues with precise matching using a computer monitor; we just want to provide some general reference so that people can see what colors we're talking about if we give them a PMS number.

If you follow this search (link goes to a Google search with a very long search string to get a specific result), you'll see lots of charts that people have put up for similar purposes. Many of them seem similar enough that they seem to have come from a common source.

I don't want to cheat and just swipe someone else's chart, and I'm a bit concerned as to whether Pantone considers these sorts of charts to be infringing on their IP. Even if I contact one of these businesses and they say it's okay to copy their work, I'm concerned because so many of them seem just alike that they've swiped the thing themselves, unless I can establish where it's come from.

Any ideas as to how one of these charts can be generated, and to the general legality of the thing? My company purchases Pantone color books and any software we use that does color matching is properly licensed, so I feel that the color referencing is being paid for at the point of actual application.

Pantone provides some "official" tools that have the net result of entering a Pantone number and seeing it on-screen, but they require 3-4 steps, including selecting the right book, which may be beyond some of our customers to follow.
posted by randomkeystrike to Technology (7 answers total)
There are iphone and android apps available. I find that iphones and ipads are pretty color accurate to my eye compared to the random desktop monitor. Would that work?

Pantone Apps
posted by photoexplorer at 11:08 AM on June 11, 2013

How many colors do you need to be showing? Adobe Photoshop color-picker will show you the closest approximate hex value, which you can put into HTML. This is woefully inadequate from a color-matching perspective for many, many reasons, though.

You can copy the approach used here.
posted by odinsdream at 11:09 AM on June 11, 2013

It feels like you're seeking the wrong solution to whatever problem you're actually trying to solve.

The whole point of Pantone is to ensure colour fidelity in controlled, professional environments. Which doesn't seem to be the case here.

I'm struggling to come up with a hypothetical example where you would be:
1) dealing with people who aren't pretty familiar with Pantone already, and
2) need to get them to look at more than a handful of colours,
3) on a regular basis

You seem to be aware that you certainly shouldn't be relying on them using their uncalibrated monitor to choose between, say, 180C, 186C or 187C red.

That being the case why can't you just occasionally create a screengrab from Photoshop or similar?
posted by puffmoike at 11:41 AM on June 11, 2013

I didn't get to set the objective. I'm just trying to find out if there's a way to do it legally on a website without a ton of work.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:31 PM on June 11, 2013

odinsdream, what I've been asked to do is show most of them - the equivalent number of colors that you would see in one book. Simply showing the PMS numbers is preferred because our customers will not typically be matching to or from hex values.
posted by randomkeystrike at 5:27 AM on June 12, 2013

The PMS code is in the table. The Hex value is not necessary to show the color box, but it's what you use to define the HTML color display.
posted by odinsdream at 5:40 AM on June 12, 2013

Something like what odinsdream linked would work but I would suggest that you put a disclaimer that the color is not accurate. The kind of person who doesn't have a PMS book or know what "general color" you're referencing when mentioning PMS values is apt to think that this is representative of what they will see on all monitors, devices, printed materials etc.
posted by Bunglegirl at 6:52 PM on June 12, 2013

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