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Rose Quartz, Living Coral and Marsala. 3 of the most recent Pantone Colours of the Year. Based in Michigan, Pantone has turned colour into money. As the global authority on pigments and hues through Pantone Matching System, a multi-million dollar business has been built.

So how is colour a business? In graphics, fashion and design it’s essential to have consistency in colour representation. There are scores of reds and blues and greens, a universal system allows creatives to pinpoint exactly which shades are being used. While digital colour standards exist (like CMYK), Pantone is the gold standard for accuracy. Their system ensures that a purple on the screen matches a purple printed on cotton or plastic.

Then there’s the branding and marketing aspect too. Australian market darling AfterPay launched their own colour on the Pantone spectrum. Afterpay Bondi Mint is “a bespoke mint green hue expressing high performance while simultaneously inspiring meditative thoughts and feelings of relaxation”.  It’s not the only company to extend their branding campaign with a trademarked colour. Tiffany Blue, Minion Yellow and McDonald’s French Fry Gold are all official Pantone shades.

Pantone is owned by US$200b listed company Danaher. Danaher (DHR) bought Pantone’s former parent company, X-Rite, for US$468m in 2012. Exact revenue figures for Pantone are not made public

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