Color selection has a strong psychological connection with consumers on and offline. Colors are chosen to appeal to specific demographics, fit a theme, or draw attention to special offers.
Graphic designers use blends of the traditional color palette, but they also have the option of using hexadecimal and Pantone colors (also known as PMS for the Pantone Matching System).
Hexadecimal color numbers are codes created for Internet and web designs. Hard copy printing — for banners, posters and on fabrics — uses the Pantone color schematic.
Hexadecimal codes always start with a # symbol in front of a chain of numbers to signify the color blends. Web design and internet marketing specialists will tell you hexadecimal colors are “web-safe.” This means they will reproduce consistently on different Internet browsers and displays.
The codes behind these types of colors help websites load faster, which means users won’t click away from a slow-loading site and businesses won’t lose business for poor web performance.
Pantone colors used in print also follow a numeric color code system. Every color is labeled as ‘PANTONE 1234 C’ with variable numbers and letter exchanges. It’s a clearly defined color labeling system that lets graphic designers all over the world communicate about specific colors without losing tints or shades and preserving the exact pigment desired in printed materials.
For marketers where brand preservation is paramount, the Pantone color scheme is especially important because of a convenient color match feature used through a set of hard copy Pantone (or PMS) Color Guides. The Color Guides are released every year so that designers don’t hold on to dated copies that have faded overtime. A downside to using Pantone color schemes is that if you have low-cost or open source software, the colors won’t be accepted in the programs.
Pantone is also commonly referenced in fashion design, which can often influence graphic and web design. The following video released from the Pantone Color Institute forecasts the top 10 colors for Spring 2013.
There is no direct conversion available from hexadecimal to Pantone. Just because there is no direct conversion doesn’t make the color translation difficult. Simple tools in graphic design software programs like Photoshop allow designers to switch between color libraries, allowing them to bring specific colors from clients’ websites to printed materials—without losing shades or tints.