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Starbucks green. UPS brown. Rensselaer red.

All instantly recognizable colors that identify these brand names almost as quickly as their logos. And behind these hues is a company whose name has become synonymous with color — Pantone Inc., led by its president, Richard Herbert ’83.

Pantone doesn’t exactly own color. But the company does own the most widely used system in the world for defining and formulating color, ensuring that whether you purchase a Frappuccino in the Rensselaer Union or in Tokyo, the Starbucks logo on the cup will always be the same shade of green. Pantone provides “an unambiguous way to communicate color from point A to point B,” Herbert says, so that Rensselaer’s signature red — PANTONE 485 in design lingo — is the same wherever it’s produced and whatever type of surface it appears on.

by Amy Lovett
Photo: Lonny Kalfus

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Rensselaer (ISSN 0898-1442) is published in March, June, September, and December by the Office of Communications.

 
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