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Pantone Punches Up Color Standards for Polyester

Polyester is shaking off its reputation for being a cheap filler fabric. With the prevalence of items like form-fitting cycling jerseys and bike shorts on the catwalk, and with color soaked swimwear finding a captivated audience on Instagram, designers are adopting polyester for collections geared toward the selfie generation.

And now Pantone has a new solution to enrich the color standards for the material. The color leader introduced 203 new colors uniquely curated for polyester materials for the athleisure, footwear, swim wear, sleep wear, home and fashion accessories markets.

The new palette is composed of classic neutrals to shocking neons that aren’t available in Pantone’s cotton library and can’t be reproduced in cotton with the same clarity or intensity.

Laurie Pressman, Pantone Color Institute vice president, said the new offering addresses the demand for “a deeper level of coloration.”

“In today’s culture where color plays an important part in our visual identity, we see an increasing desire for more saturated colors that help us stand out; colors beyond those formulated for natural fibers; colors whose appearance displays greater hue intensity,” she said.

One macro-trend that’s deeply influencing color and design, Pressman said, is the desire to play, experiment, interact, explore and to regress back to a time when things seemed simpler.

“We are living in an age dominated by uncertainty and upheaval, where consumers are overwhelmed and concerned about everything from our environment to global instability. This has prompted consumers to yearn for a feeling of play where they can find more positive, joyful connections, to themselves and to others, something when translated into color and design results in highly creative expression and provocative and unexpected color mixing,” Pressman explained.

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pantone swatches
Pantone’s polyester swatch set. Pantone

While consumers’ desire to play speaks to a need for joy, Pantone’s color palette isn’t limited to the bright hues.

“Palettes invoking play can take a more muted yet unexpected tone, suggesting the unbridled embrace of imperfection; or a softer, fluid one, suggesting hyperreal influences and the blurred boundary between physical and digital,” Pressman said.

The polyester standards are available in three formats: a swatch set, swatch cards and spectral data, or exact dye recipes for each color to help expedite and achieve accurate color in production.

“We recognize that designers working in synthetic materials face increased color management challenges due to the inability to achieve more vibrant and saturated colors in these materials compared to traditional cotton standards,” said Adrián Fernández, Pantone vice president and general manager.

“The addition of standards specifically for polyester materials is intended to satisfy this gap in the market, combining our technical expertise with the color intelligence of the Pantone Color Institute, to offer our globally-renowned methods of standardization to rapidly growing segments,” Fernández added.