Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pantone attempts to define humanity's true colours

Skin colour has always been a contentious topic. Generally, people class the "others" based on their differences. (For example, Imperial Brits called almost everyone with more melanin than them "Black.")

In reality, skin tones are pretty variable. But Pantone, the industry standard for colour, is making an effort to address this with the new Pantone SkinTone Guide.

The guide features  a total of 110 skin tones. 

As the site proclaims:
The PANTONE SkinTone Guide was created by scientifically measuring thousands of actual skin tones across the full spectrum of human skin types. Specially formulated to be the closest physical representations of skin colors, the library is a comprehensive visual reference of human skin tones for use in any market where skin colors are relevant. It's the only internationally available color standard to accurately match skin tones.
BEAUTY: Matching and coordinating cosmetics to skin color.
FASHION: Bring skin color into the mix when developing colors and palettes for design and producing accessories, foundation garments and intimates.
PRODUCT DESIGN: Develop and control natural skin tones for toys and a variety of products and accessories
PHOTOGRAPHY: Easily match skin tones for accurate photo editing and retouching.
PRINTING/PACKAGING/GRAPHIC DESIGN: Provides quality control standards for consistent and appealing skin tone reproduction.
MEDICAL: Useful for creating baseline color standards for restorative and cosmetic surgery and prosthesis manufacture. 

While this is hardly a solution to the issues of oversimplifying human identity through broad "racial" categories, it certainly provides designers with tools to more accurately represent human diversity.

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Related: Pantone Humanae


  1. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

    Internernt Marketing

  2. interesting that thier fan only shows the 'lighter' colors...