Tag Archives: Goe

Pantone Releases CAPSURE Color Measurement Device


Yesterday Pantone announced the immediate availability of CAPSURE, a handheld device that lets designers and creative professionals measure and match color on almost any material. A similar product has been available in Europe since spring 2010, released by X-Rite for the commercial paint market, but this is the first time it has been marketed to the United States–with PANTONE Color Libraries included–and to the creative market in general.

“CAPSURE’s advanced image capture technology sets a new standard for accuracy and versatility in a portable device,” said Giovanni Marra, director of corporate marketing at Pantone. “The real power of CAPSURE is its ability to measure the color of any surface, including small, patterned and multi-colored textures and textiles, which can confound other instruments because of their textural complexity, and quickly match them to more than 8,000 PANTONE Colors.”

CAPSURE ships with the most important PANTONE Color libraries pre-loaded. Fashion designers and home decorators will appreciate the FASHION + HOME and PAINT + INTERIORS Library, but graphic designers will be most familiar with the PLUS SERIES, which is the next generation of the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM, and the PANTONE Goe library. These constitute almost all important colors for reproduction on paper or on screen, and more can be added through the included CAPSURE Sync software.

The device

I’ve been testing the CAPSURE for a couple weeks now and have been paying close attention to the design of the device itself. It ships with a wrist cord and a carrying case that makes it easy to handle and it sports a nice design with a built-in calibration swatch that can be slid away from the sensor when in use and back to cover it when in storage.

One minor complaint is it seems I have to press and hold the power button when turning it on—a regular button press is not registered. I also think the CAPSURE is too large and bulky, which might concern designers who want the slimmest and most stylish devices in their pockets and bags. The device’s size is comparable to an old cell phone from the early 2000s. It’s perfectly at home on a paint salesman’s or press operator’s belt but it can look clunky next to an iPhone.


The device is easy to use. The sensor captures 27 images in under two seconds and triangulates the best color match it can. Note that the camera doesn’t work with light-creating samples such as those on monitors. CAPSURE can store up to 100 colors and it will also show multiple colors in a multi-color sample. It can also build color schemes or select related colors to help you create a larger palette. The screen is a bit small but the user interface works really well and everything is readable and navigable on screen.


You can also record text or voice tags with your color samples, which is really helpful if you’re using CAPSURE to catalog inspiring colors in the field. These tags can be retrieved with the CAPSURE Palette Application software, which also will bring color palettes into Adobe Creative Suite and QuarkXPress. Note that the Palette Application software is available only as a download after completing the product registration; CAPSURE Sync only updates the device’s color libraries.

Will it match?

I tested CAPSURE by scanning known and unknown color samples in a variety of materials including wallpaper, fabric, color laser printing and offset lithography. One set of samples came from a new Pantone swatchbook I unwrapped specifically to test this device. I didn’t know what to expect but I know how hard it is to exactly reproduce color, so I thought CAPSURE might come close to matching colors. I ended up being right.

The device measured a known sample of PAN 287 (blue) printed with a color laser printer and judged it to be PAN 7686. It also measured PAN 143 (yellow) as PAN 142 and PAN 179 (red) as PLUS 58-8. These are all close measurements and I was impressed the yellow measurement was one digit off. These results were duplicated by my scanning of a PANTONE Fashion Color Report produced earlier this year. CAPSURE matched one color exactly and on most of the rest it was only a digit or two off.

The most matches came from the Pantone swatchbook. CAPSURE did particularly well matching magentas, greens and blues exactly but had few exact matches with yellows, oranges, grays and browns. Even when the device could not match the color exactly it was usually only one number away. This might not be good enough when testing a print run for a difficult client who demands their logo reproduce exactly, but it will be satisfactory for all other situations.


CAPSURE effectively scanned odd materials and returned good matches of the colors. I recommend holding the capture button halfway when working with textures: the display will show a magnified view of the sample and you can move the device to capture the best section. One thing I noticed is the display shifts color depending on the angle you view it. Be sure to use the display only as a guide and use swatchbooks for confirmation.

Pricing and availability

CAPSURE ships now and the price is US$649. The device and software are compatible for both Mac and PC. (The Palette Application Software will be Mac-compatible in January 2011.) I don’t think I will keep the device in my bag of books and digital devices but it will stay on my desk and I think I could make it a regular part of my camera bag to capture color as well as photography when I’m traveling.

Rating: 8/10

Goodbye PMS, hello PANTONE PLUS

Today Pantone announced the widely-used PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM® has been discontinued immediately and replaced by the new PANTONE PLUS SERIES®. This is an historic moment for graphic designers everywhere who have used the old “PMS” colors and have many numbers committed to memory.


“PANTONE PLUS takes what designers and printers know and love about the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM and supercharges it with a host of new features, colors and digital tools,” said Ron Potesky, senior vice president and general manager of Pantone. “The PLUS SERIES provides designers with greater freedom for selecting, specifying and matching color. And, since the PANTONE PLUS SERIES is based on the widely used PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM, there’s no training or new equipment required to start pushing the boundaries of creativity.” Pantone is framing this change as the “next generation” or “modern version” of the PMS but it’s clear to me that the PLUS SERIES is not the same thing—it’s probably better.

A little history: Goe in 2007

In 2007, Pantone released the Goe™ System with 2,058 new colors, chromatically arranged swatchbooks, new base inks and digital and interactive tools to help select Goe colors. I remember a lot of online discussion about this new system when I covered the news that year, but I never did see it used in the field. I work in Iowa so you can take that observation for what it’s worth.

I wondered at the time whether Goe could compete with the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM, which has almost 50 years to entrench itself in the design community. I thought Goe would not have a real chance to emerge with PMS still active. I asked Ron about this and it seems Pantone deliberately made Goe’s release vague, refusing to give it a clear position in the Pantone family of products. The intention was to let customer behavior dictate how Goe and PMS would co-function in the marketplace, but I don’t think this strategy was very effective. From my perspective, without a specific target market Goe was left to find a small niche in the packaging and specialized printing industries, leaving the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM’s position in the design market almost unchanged.

You gotta pull the trigger

I think Pantone has realized the PANTONE MATCHING SYSTEM had to go in order to make way for the next generation of color tools in PANTONE PLUS. It’s a sensible move because PANTONE PLUS has some features superior to PMS but keeps some elements of PMS to make the transition easy:

  • 224 new solid colors—1,341 total
  • Chromatically arranged swatchbooks
  • Swatchbooks are printed on text-weight stock, not cover-weight (100# text for coated, 80# text for uncoated)
  • Formulated with the same 14 base inks that constitute the PMS
  • Metallics can now be coated and varnished without changing luster
  • Reference numbers for PMS colors are unchanged (new colors begin at 7548)
  • Swatchbooks have a color-checking swatch on the inside back cover that helps judge studio lighting for a proper swatch check
  • The COLOR BRIDGE swatchbook (used for finding CMYK equivalents of PLUS colors) has swatches on the inside back cover, suitable for swatch capture like a Macbeth color checker
  • A PASTELS + NEONS family of 154 pastels and 56 neons is now available for active sportswear markets
  • A free COLOR MANAGER application will be available for updating Quark and Adobe products’ swatches and converting spot colors to CMYK


According to Giovanni Marra, Pantone’s Director of Corporate Marketing, there is a small price increase of less than $5.00 per swatchbook. The most common product, the PANTONE FORMULA GUIDE, is $109 for coated and uncoated books; the three PMS books (coated, uncoated, matte) are $125. Other swatchbook sets are anywhere from $79 for the metallics and pastels/neons to $125 for the CMYK set and $209 for the COLOR BRIDGE set for matching PLUS and CMYK colors. Chip packages are $169–175 with the SOLID CHIPS set running $259. All products are available today except COLOR BRIDGE and the public beta version of COLOR MANAGER, which will be available in June 2010.

Beginning last March, Pantone also made Goe slightly cheaper:

  • GoeGuides are $20 less
  • GoeBridge is $10 less
  • GoeSticks are $40 less
  • The Goe Systems are also $40 less

I predict many designers will just go on living with their old swatchbooks and familiar colors (Reflex Blue, anyone?) but Pantone has just made the essential decision that will see PLUS replace PMS within a few years. Sounds good to me, because the chromatic arrangement and new colors makes PLUS a better color family without making things hard for printers.

Sidebar: myPANTONE X-Ref Color Tools for iPhone and online


This has actually been in the news since early April, but Pantone has released the myPANTONE X-Ref Color Tools for iPhone and online. This application is designed to cross-reference PANTONE color libraries and find color matches. The application includes all color libraries so users have full access to the PANTONE MATCHING System, Goe and the new PANTONE PLUS system in June 2010. The online application itself is available for free at www.pantone.com/xref and the iPhone app is available at the iPhone App Store for $1.99 (compatible with iPhone OS 3.0 and higher on iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad).