Pantone’s iPhone Perils

Posted by Marco on Nov 5, 2009 in ICC

Looks like Pantone got the color wrong (again). The guys from the Belgium VIGC (or Graphic Brain) tested the Pantone iPhone app and guess what?

• Same App installed on two different devices (iPhone 3GS and iPodTouch) and they display the same PANTONE colors very different.
• The iPhone 3GS’s color is way off compared to an LCD-monitor dat (that was calibrated using the X-Rite Color Munki Design). The iPhone’s color-range is much smaller and the glossy screen doesn’t really help.
• Pantone claims the myPantone App can ‘snap’ to a Pantone color like PANTONE GOE coated (or PANTONE solid coated), but photo’s from Pantone’s own color-swatches are ‘snapped’ way off, even in a controlled enviroment (neutral light, D50 lightbox).
• Even a digital file that was created in Photoshop using sRGB-values from the GOE-book didn’t ‘snap’ to the correct color.

Being the color-lovers they are, Graphic Brain warns iPhone users not to trust the colors from the myPantone App. “And that’s a shame as graphic designers look towards Patone to set the standard regarding color. Just two years ago Pantone forgot to mention the RGB-values in their new Pantone GOE books were set in sRGB and not the industry-standard AdobeRGB. Now we have an App to judge and advice on color and it’s way off. This is not helping Pantone’s reputation as a color-expert”.

Test with picurers right here. For more information, (high res) pictures and testresults you can contact VIGC

Edit: Added link to English test.

Hits: 2369 Comments: 3


  1. Eddy Hagen (VIGC) | November 6, 2009 | 14:43 CET

    Thanks for putting this up. Just a small typo in our name (it’s VIGC, not VICG).

    And there is also a complete English version of our tests on this page:


  2. Henk Gianotten | November 10, 2009 | 01:10 CET

    Specifying spot colors in sRGB is absurd. A lot of spotcolors are outside the sRGB color space. And some CMYK colors are outside the sRGB color space. Pantone was not able to indicate in their color guides which Goe or PMS colors cannot be displayed is sRGB. So specifying colors based on an sRGB device is a real problem. But the application looks cute and you can impress your friends. I expect that experienced DTP operators and designers with enough color knowledge won’t use it at the office.

  3. Henk Gianotten | January 27, 2010 | 15:46 CET

    There is another app for your iPhone to specify color and transform colors from one space to another . It’s called Peppermint 2.0 and was made by Sittipan Simasanti from Studio Extend in Thailand. Version 1.0 is freeware. Version 2.0 supports NCS color and the price is $ 2.99. Again, this is just a toy to impress others without in depth color knowledge. The color space is not standardized and the color temperature cannot be measured nor calibrated.

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