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What is Pantone and why is it important for retailers?

What is Pantone and why is it important for retailers?


Let’s say you’re an entrepreneur looking to open your first business. You’ve decided to follow your passion for clothing and fashion accessories, so you’re going to open a boutique shop. And although it might be small, you have big plans for your establishment. In your mind’s eye you can see the doors opening on your first day of business – everything is displayed just right, the design is beautiful and the customers are lining up to buy your merchandise. Beyond that, you can see a whole future for your store, perhaps someday you’ll even move into a larger space. You can see great things for your brand and your business.

Of course there’s a lot to take care of before you can make your dreams a reality. Once you’ve created your checklist and gotten the less exciting aspects of your business in order – the POS system, bank loans, supply chains – it’s time to create a visually appealing store. There are no hard and fast rules about how exactly your shop should look. But that’s part of the fun! You can pour your creativity into the visual aspects of your boutique and shoppers are sure to take notice. As you do this, you’ll have to decide on a color scheme, one that reflects your overall theme and personality. Compared to the business aspects of your boutique, this might seem like a piece of cake, but it’s all too easy to get lost in the never-ending rainbow of colors.

That’s where Pantone comes in.

Pantone colors are used in everything from fashion to printing.

What is Pantone?
The Pantone company was created in 1963 when Lawrence Herbert bought M & J Levine Advertising, a printing company. Herbert used his knowledge of chemistry to create a system which categorized colored ink in a way that could be easily communicated between graphic designers. According to the company’s official website, Herbert realized that each individual person recognizes the color spectrum in a slightly different way. For instance, almost everyone can tell the difference between orange and red, and many people might be able to tell sherbert orange from tangerine orange, but as the spectrum gets more granular, opinions might differ. Remember that picture of a dress that made the rounds of the Internet last year? Some people saw a black and blue dress while others thought the item was gold and white. It’s an extreme example, but it illustrates just how easy it is for people to disagree about something as basic as colors.

Pantone’s matching system is a product used by many graphic designers and other visual professionals. By coding each color, designers can easily communicate to one another a precise shade and color. For example, a designer might wish to use the Pantone color 2125C, but without the number, he might end up getting 2132C, which is slightly darker. These numbers take away the risk of human error and differing opinions. From plastics and paint to fashion and digital design, Pantone is the standard.

Using Pantone colors in the retail world
You might not be a graphic designer, but visual design is a huge part of your store – it’s what makes the first impression on your customers and helps to draw them into your establishment. The shopping experience is highly visual, even when you leave the merchandise out of the equation. Good visual design can make shoppers feel comfortable and happy, while bad design can make people uncomfortable, even if they can’t quite articulate why.

You can use the Pantone system to pick out the colors that will represent your store. These you can use in your signage, marketing materials and, with our C3 custom color products, on your racks and mannequins. Just send us the Pantone color code and we will create a mannequin or rack in your unique brand color.

“Color can affect emotion.”

The psychological impact of colors
The colors you choose will have a subtle impact on your shoppers. We’re not saying that if you drape everything in red that people will go into a buying frenzy, but different shades will have some effect on their comfort and emotional response. In fact, if you did drape everything in red, your store would probably be too overwhelming for many people! However, a red sale sign in the front window will draw attention and potentially increase the number of passersby that decide to stop in and have a look around. So what are some of the psychological effects of colors?

Warm colors: Red, yellow and orange tend to bring out physical or powerful emotional responses. According to Color-Affects, warm colors are full of energy, which is why they are commonly seen in posters and pamphlets advertising sales promotions. If you want your store to really stand out, consider using a shade of bright red or orange, though even softer tones can emit a sense of power and action.

Cool colors: Blue, purple and green are often perceived as more elegant and spiritual. Blue is the color of water, which can either be calm and gentle or rolling and chaotic. Color-Affects reported that blue and green can represent a feeling of balance and intellect, which can create a calming experience. Use these colors if you’re going for a relaxed, easy going atmosphere.

Pantone’s color of the year is actually a combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity, a flowery, silky pink and a soft, cloud-like blue. According to the company, this combination reflects a warm embrace and cool tranquility. When deciding on your store’s colors, take into consideration these psychological factors.

Visual cohesion among your store displays, marketing materials and website is the first step to creating a lasting brand. Your signature colors will, over time, become part of the personality of your brand, and shoppers will recognize them at a glance. Think about some of the larger, national retailers – even if you can’t envision their symbols and fonts, you probably know which colors they use. It’s a visual world and colors are important.