PANTONE Takes The Guesswork Out Of Color

April 26, 2010 1:00 am

Tags: Dee-Marie, iPhone, myPantone, Pantone, Renderosity

file_451879.jpgProduct Review: myPANTONE™ X-Ref iPhone® App

All artists and designers know how important it is to have a working knowledge of PANTONE® colors. After all, the PANTONE Matching System® (PMS) has been the industry leader in color for printing, painting, fabrics, and plastics for nearly half a century (and more recently for web design).

Last year, PANTONE took a giant leap into the future of creativity when they released myPANTONE, giving artists instant access to PANTONE colors via their iPhones. Less than a year later, the innovative minds at PANTONE have gone a step further with the introduction of the myPANTONE™ X-Ref iPhone® application.

Although the myPANTONE X-Ref application was created to be used in conjunction with the myPANTONE iPhone app, it is still fully functional as a stand-alone application. In fact, it not only comes in a reasonably-priced iPhone download (only $1.99), but a free web version is also available.

I was very excited to talk to the PANTONE representative about the features and functions of their new creation. However, it wasn’t until I took myPANTONE X-Ref for a spin on my iPhone that I realized what an invaluable tool this little app truly was.

I have two main criteria for software: first and foremost, it has to be functional, and secondly, it has to be fun. I was pleased to discover that the myPANTONE X-Ref application was both. How easy is the myPANTONE X-Ref application to use? It’s a simple three step process.

Step 1: select the “PANTONE Color Guide” (one of the three options located on the “myPANTONE X-Ref” main screen). The screen will then switch over to the “Color Guide” menu. From there, select a PMS library, from the ten PANTONE color system libraries (or create a unique custom color from the CMYK/RGB/HTML feature) and touch “back,” which will take you back to the myPANTONE X-Ref main menu.

myPANTONE X-Ref includes the above PANTONE color system libraries

Step 2 (again, on the main menu screen): select “Color.” The screen will then switch over to a display of all the colors within the specific PANTONE color system library that you selected in step 1. Scroll through the PMS library and select a color, and then touch “back,” which will take you back to the myPANTONE X-Ref main menu.

Step 3 (again on the main menu screen): select the “X-Ref PANTONE Guide.” The screen will then switch over to the cross-reference guide menu. Select a PMS library that you wish to cross-reference the color from the library that you selected in steps 1& 2, then touch “back,” which will take you back to the myPANTONE X-Ref main menu. Both colors will then appear side-by-side on the myPANTONE X-Ref main menu.


Creating A Custom Color

I was especially impressed with the Custom Colors function, which allows the user to create a unique color and then cross reference it to a specific PMS library color. Not only does it reference PMS colors, but also RGB, CMYK, and HTML (hexadecimal) color-code numbers in both the custom color and the cross-referenced PMS color.

Step 1: Touch the “PANTONE Color Guide” pad on the opening screen. On the PANTONE Color Guide screen, scroll down to (and select) the CMYK/ RGB/ HTML pad, and touch the “back” button.


Step 2: Next, touch the “Color” pad on the opening screen. Create a custom color by moving either the CMYK or the RGB slider bars (easily toggle between the CMYK, RGB, and HTML screens). Once you create a unique color, touch the “save” button, and then touch the “back” button.


Step 3: The last step: touch the “X-Ref PANTONE Guide” pad on the opening screen. Then touch one of the three* PMS color library options, and touch the “back” button. On the main screen, there are now two color samples: My Color (the custom color) with the CMYK information and the color sample with the PMS library color.


*Note: When a “custom color” is created, there are only three X-Ref PANTONE libraries to choose from. However, when referencing non-custom colors, all ten of the PMS libraries are available for cross-referencing.


To retrieve the RGB and hexadecimal (HTML) information, on the main screen, touch the arrow between the color swatches. To get an even closer look at either of the color samples, touch one of the color samples, and that color (and its information) will fill the iPhone screen.

Ideal Color Reference Tool

With the iPhone, it is also easy to take a “screen grab” of a specific color to either print, or save as a reference for your “personal” computer color library. To grab an image of your iPhone’s screen, hold down the “Home” button (located on the center lower front of your iPhone) and simultaneously hold down the “Sleep/Wake [on/off]” button (located on the top right corner of your iPhone). A picture of your iPhone’s screen will snap and be automatically saved in Photos, in the Camera Roll folder.

If you do not own an iPhone, the myPANTONE X-Ref application is also available in a free web version. Although the web version is fully functional, it does not support the Custom Color (CMYK/RGB/HTML) feature, and of course the ease of the “take it anywhere you go” mobility that the iPhone application offers.

myPANTONE X-Ref application Free Web Version

The myPANTONE X-Ref iPhone application is not just for professionals in the art and print industry, it is also a handy tool for crafters and quilters. Anyone who deals with color (artists, webmasters, dress designers, hobbyists, etc.) will appreciate the functionality and mobility of the myPANTONE X-Ref iPhone application. After all, PANTONE has taken the guesswork out of color for nearly half a century!

  • myPANTONE™ iPhone® app download: $1.99 (Apple iPhone® App Store)
  • myPANTONE™ X-Ref Web Tool: Free
  • Compatible with iPhone® OS 3.0 or higher
  • Can be used with iPhone®, iPod® Touch and iPad®
  • Personalized PANTONE iPhone/iPod Cases also available

We invite you to visit the following:

Supporting images were created for the sole use of this article and cannot be reproduced in any manner without written permission.
PANTONE® and other Pantone trademarks are the property of Pantone LLC © Pantone LLC, 2010.
iPod and iPhone are trademarks of Apple
All rights reserved.

Get to know industry leaders and professionals
as they sit down and talk candidly with
Contributing Columnist, Dee-Marie,
Author of "Sons of Avalon: Merlin's Prophecy"

April 26, 2010

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