NEW YORK — Talk about color coordinated.
The National Retail Federation is partnering with Pantone Inc. to map Pantone’s color-coding system to NRF’s Standard Color Codes for general merchandise and apparel products through the use of the technologies available with Pantone’s new business division, TheRightColor.
The benefit, according to both firms, is to better match colors. This should result in a higher rate of customer satisfaction and improve vendors’ bottom lines, thanks to fewer returns, as well as enhance the ability to cross-merchandise, they said.
Historically, individual manufacturers have assigned codes within general families of color. By leveraging the 1,757 colors of the Pantone Textile Color system — used by apparel and home furnishings manufacturers and retailers throughout the world to control color for their merchandise from the design stage through production — the new coding system establishes a means to accurately identify, specify and communicate precise color.
Linking the two systems should have an impact on all of the distribution channels used by retailers, including e-commerce, electronic kiosks and mobile computing, NRF said, as well as aid in business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce.
TheRightColor offers several technological tools through its Web site, First, TheRightColor Swatch Generator insures optimum online color representation of offered merchandise with an added feature of displaying close, complementary and opposite colors. In addition, it offers the ability to view the color under different lighting conditions including in-store, noontime, daylight and in-home.
Second, the Web site’s Color Picker allows customers to search for a desired color within a color group, while adjusting the displayed color swatch to account for lighting conditions and fabric texture. It also compares chosen colors side by side.
The next technology, TheRightColor Image Calibration Servlet, color-corrects all online images using specially developed monitor-specific profiles.
Finally, The Pantone Color Consultant Professional, a hand-held color-measuring device, correlates the color of a real-life object with its corresponding Pantone Textile Color code.
“We are excited about our alliance with Pantone because of its established presence as an international authority on color and its extensive reach across multiple industries,” said Cathy Hotka, NRF’s vice president of information technology. “This creates a great solution for retailers by enabling informed inventory replenishment decisions.”
Richard Herbert, Pantone’s executive vice president and chief technology officer, added: “Pantone’s inclusion of the NRF Color Codes in Pantone’s system will better serve the customer, as well as the business.”

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