First launched in April last year, Pantone Connect underwent a major update Wednesday. With the introduction of the new “Color Story” feature, designers can now share palette information with stakeholders across the design workflow, including with teams, clients, printers and brands.
Users can also upload digital photos of inspiration and automatically match colors to their nearest Pantone Color Equivalent—the platform provides access to 15,000 Pantone Colors—as well as create and store palettes “securely.” Additionally, the updated platform includes tools that let designers see how palettes will be perceived by people with common color blindness and how they will look against light and dark backgrounds.
Jung Sin, global director, digital product management, said the goal of this latest iteration of Pantone Connect “was to reset and stabilize the platform technologically and business-wise.” In addition to Color Story—a “new feature at its infancy stage,” according to Sin—the platform features an updated UX and UI.
Though Pantone Connect’s launch in the spring of last year acted as an answer to the work-from-home life many designers suddenly found themselves thrust into, Sin said digitization “was a vital next step and inevitable.”
“However, the pandemic changed how we envisioned what digitizing meant,” Sin told Sourcing Journal. “During our beta test, we learned that accessing Pantone colors day-to-day during the design process was essential, but easily communicating with your team was critical. Before the pandemic, our focus was on easy access to Pantone Colors anytime and anywhere, but with the pandemic, we began to explore the idea of ‘quality-decision’ through ‘collaboration’ and ‘informed insights.’ This is the key value we want to address in 2022.”
The color company framed the Pantone Connect update as the latest in a continued strategy to diversify its products “for a fully integrated customer experience that connects consumers digital habits with the need to connect with the physical world.” Leading this strategy is Elley Cheng, vice president and general manager of Pantone. Appointed this summer, Cheng previously held leadership roles at Shutterstock and Adobe.
“In today’s world, we rely on digital communication to get inspiration and collaborate with one another,” Cheng told Sourcing Journal. “In order to better serve our customers and fans, Pantone looks to extend and expand our portfolio of digital services to better support designers on their day-to-day journey, from getting inspirations from multiple sources, such as social media or experiences we come across physically, to ensuring accurate reproduction for the physical world as well as consistent representation in the digital world of their works.”
Though many have and will return to the office, at least on a part-time basis, Cheng said she believes “the demand for collaborative tools will continue to rise, especially for those tools that can help teams work more frictionlessly, regardless of where team members are physically.” But, as online collaboration has allowed for greater productivity and convenience, she said, “endless online meetings” have also left workers fatigued.
“If we can leverage better collaboration tools that can help us cut out some unnecessary meetings, then we can reclaim that time to get work done, have some personal time off, or travel to spend quality time with colleagues and clients,” Cheng said.
Two months after launching Pantone Connect in the spring of last year, the company introduced the Pantone Color Match Card, a credit card-sized target that calibrates a mobile device’s camera to more accurately measure a targeted physical color, which is immediately matched to the closest Pantone color or colors. Designers can then save the color into their palette workflow and share it with their team. Though the tool “needed some work” in the beginning to support as many devices as possible, Sin said Pantone has continued to improve the technology.
Pantone Connect is a work in progress. Available in the Adobe Extension Marketplace for use in Adobe Creative Cloud software, the iOS App Store and Google Play, and as a web application, the platform releases updates, bug fixes and new features twice a week.