You might already know that I’m absolutely crazy about colour, and in my endless search for the perfect colour palette, I come across a multitude of resources, offline and online, good, not so good and plain bad…
One of my all time favourites is Pantone Studio, an iOS app for colour inspiration and management, created by Pantone, a provider of professional colour standards and digital solutions under a universal language.
Pantone LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of X-Rite, Incorporated, is the world-renowned authority on color and provider of color systems and leading technology for the selection and accurate communication of color across a variety of industries. The PANTONE® name is known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer. – pantone.com
In all design practices, colour is an essential part of the workflow and the more seamless that workflow is, the more pleasurable and productive it will be. That’s where Pantone Studio comes flying in like a rocket, making capturing, testing and sharing colour palettes a complete delight.
The use of Pantone products (particularly its Fan Decks) amongst visual creatives is very prevalent if not absolutely necessary, at least when the final designs are meant for commercial production. It’s the language we all must speak so colour reproduction is consistent, from the beginning of that production line right to the end. We need those final products/prints to look exactly as we meant them!
So what better way to create your colour palettes than with Pantone colours right from the beginning, and save some time and sorrow… Pantone Studio helps you do exactly that, and on top of all this, it helps you manage all those lovely colour palettes you’ll be putting together.
PANTONE Studio provides greater convenience in capturing Pantone color from the world around you, building and testing that color in palettes, and sharing work directly into design software, on social media, or with friends, clients, and collaborators.
So here are the 10 things you need to know about Pantone Studio:
1. Building colour palettes
You can build colour palettes of up to 5-colours by:
- Selecting colours directly from the colour guides included: Color of the Year, Formula Guide Solid Coated, Formula Guide Solid Uncoated, Color Bridge Coated, Color Bridge Uncoated, Extended Gamut Coated, FHI Cotton TCX, FHI Paper TPG, FHI Nylon Brights TN, Metallics Coated, Premium Metallics Coated, Pastels & Neons Coated,Pastels & Neons Uncoated, CMYK Coated, CMYK Uncoated, Skintone Guide. They’re all found in the Color area of the app and you can search the guides by colour numbers if you need to.
- Take a photo using the camera icon and use the colour picker to choose the colours you want from the image.
- Or use a photo already on your phone by going to the top menu in the Images area of the app.
- Connect the app to your Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr accounts and extract images from those accounts to sample colours from them. You find these options by selecting the top menu in the Images area.
- Or from the app’s own Inspiration feed, also in the Images top menu.
2. Visualising your colour palettes
You can mix and test colour palettes in the Studio area. Visualise your colours on graphics, interiors, and 3D materials before you start designing. Drag colours into different positions on the palette to change the order of the colours on the graphics.
3. Sharing your colour palettes
You can share your colour palettes to many places and in several ways/formats by clicking the usual Share icon.
You can select the kind of image you want to share your palette as. For a 5-colour palette, there are 11 image options. You can then send that image as a text message, email or share it on your social media accounts, or just save it to your Camera Roll. Each shared colour in the palette has its Pantone name and number, making it great when collaborating with other people.
You can also send them to your Creative Cloud libraries, Photoshop or as an ASE file (see number 7 below).
4. Finding colour values
All colours are shown on several values, making it a breeze to work across different mediums or for different purposes. The values for each Pantone colour are also shown as sRGB, HEX and CMYK. Just tap on the colour you want to see the values for and they’ll be there.
5. Help with harmonies
When creating colour palettes a helping hand is always welcome. The app shows you Monochromatic, Analogous, Split Complement, Triadic and Complement harmonies for each colour you select. Find them by tapping on a colour and then swiping up. You can then add colours from the harmonies to your palette if you want to.
6. Cross referencing
You can visually cross reference any colour across all Pantone colour guides. So let’s say you have a hue from the Color Bridge guide selected but want to know what the equivalent of that colour is for the CMYK guide. You do this by tapping on a colour, swiping up and then swiping left on the top menu. You’ll find them under Cross References.
7. Integrating with Adobe Software
If you work with Adobe Software, you’ll be pleased to know that the app integrates very well with it, and will make your workflow much smoother. You can:
- Send your colour palettes to your Creative Cloud libraries. This will send each colour separately and the image where you sampled them from (if any). You can then open these in Illustrator, Photoshop, etc…
- Send them to Photoshop’s Swatches library directly.
- Or share them as ASE (Adobe Swatch Exchange) files. They are used for saving a collection of colours and are accessed through the Swatches palette of some Adobe products like Photoshop and Illustrator.
You do all these by going to your Palettes area in the app and tapping the sharing icon above the colour palette you want to share.
8. Crowdsourcing colour palettes
The app is linked with the ColourLovers community to pull in palettes from other artists. which you can save on your app for later use. You do this by tapping on a colour, swiping up and then swiping left on the top menu. You’ll find them under Inspiration.
In the Articles area, you’ll get insights from the Pantone Color Institute™ (PCI) through a convenient feed of content rich in colour insight and imagery. Content includes articles focused on the emotions, meanings, psychology and context behind particular colours. This also includes curated trend palettes to use in your next design project.
10. To subscribe or not to subscribe, that is the question
The app is a subscription service but all tools, features, and content are free with a selection of available Pantone colours. By subscribing you get access to all Pantone colours across 15 guides (more than 10,000 standardized hues across all libraries and disciplines, from fashion to graphic colours).
There are 2 subscription options:
- Monthly – £4.49 – $4.99/month with 1-week free trial
- Annual – £27.99 – $29.99/year with 1-month free trial
If you’re subscribed, all new colours released by Pantone will be automatically updated in the digital studio.
And that’s all folks… I hope you have now a better understanding of how this app might be able to change your design workflow forever. I know it did for me.
Let me know what you think in the comments below or if you have any questions send them over and I’ll try to answer them… (I love a challenge!)
PS: If you’re into bright and bold colours, check this post to get 24 free colour palettes, I think you’ll love them :-)