Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration

Constantly Amazed

October 18th, 2010

It’s amazing how much I don’t know. I met someone the other day who looked through my book and started talking about colors with specific attention to how the Pantone color scheme works. Pantone is not mentioned in my book, mainly because the main-stream GIS software doesn’t use Pantone colors, instead it uses HSV and RGB. You may also need to know HEX and maybe be familiar with Munsell if you do soils GIS. But Pantone? Not high on the list of priorities. However, it is definitely interesting, especially as I’ve gotten very into color theory lately.

This new acquaintance let me in on a little of the history of Munsell – how it had been in a bit of a competition with Pantone for the “big” business (textiles, printing) but Pantone pretty much cornered the big-business market. Interesting stuff. Most of us don’t think about this at all, you just pick a color, use whatever system gets you that color, and call it good.

The Pantone color guide, which displays the Pantone Matching System (PMS), is $165.00 off their website but you may be able to get it cheaper through Amazon. What it does is provide exact colors that can be replicated exactly as they are shown on the guide, no matter what is used to produce the color. You are supposed to purchase the guide every year because the colors yellow over time.

Cartographer's Toolkit

Map Making Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration