Thursday, June 3, 2010

The (Color) Match Game

Donovan Moore, who runs the excellent ColorWerx site (the only blog and database devoted to the science of color in sports), recently posted the official color palette for the Packers' new throwback uniforms.

The Packers, like all pro teams (and most corporations period), use the PANTONE Matching System to ensure that the Green and Gold are rendered faithfully across all platforms, from websites to bumper stickers, books to banners to t-shirts. Different media will display colors in a different fashion, so Pantone produces a series of color swatches for various applications; coated versus uncoated paper stock, textiles, and more, all in an attempt to maintain color consistency no matter where those colors are displayed.

Although most teams decline to reveal their specific Pantone colors for fear of enabling counterfeit merchandise, the Packers list them in their media guides: Dark Green (PMS 5535-C), Gold (PMS 1235-C) and White. Here they are rendered in the ColorWerx database:

Moreover, Moore reveals that the Packers throwbacks herald a new age in color matching:
Something I just discovered - the first professional sports team to use PANTONE Goe colors in one of their designs. The Packers new throwback uniforms (Acme Packers, with the Navy jerseys with the number within a Gold circle) use a PANTONE Goe color for the Light Brown used in the pants, and another one for the Dark Brown used for the helmet color. I'm probably the only one who cares about this, but I'm seeing it as a sign of things to come. The Goe system is being positioned by Pantone as their primary color set, with what used to be called the PANTONE Matching System (PMS) being regulated as an additional, supplemental set - which is why PMS is now called PANTONE PLUS.
Of course, there's only so much Pantone can do when different materials reflect differently under various lighting conditions, resulting in a perceived mismatch like this:

1 comment:

Tom said...

Chance, the Packers' jerseys not looking "forest green" -- as the color was once described in, I believe, a Packers media guide -- is something that bugs me every time it happens. But as you point out, different fabrics and different lighting today are going to make that green look different.

On a related note, it's interesting how certain situations tilt the gold of the helmets and pants in an orange direction. I've often wondered if the colors the opponent is wearing are a factor in my perception.