Ever wonder what books or guides were used to show color before Pantone was the “go to” for print and design? Below are two very extensive guides for their time. One is a one of a kind while the other was a published reference book in the early 1900’s and both these books predate Pantone by about 270 years.
A.Boogert’s Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau (Color Treatments for Water Painting)
271 years before Pantone came out with the first color swatch book, in 1692, A. Boogert, a Dutch artist created the first ever handwritten color swatch index book. It is a comprehensive 800 page mixing guide to using watercolor. Each page is packed full of watercolor swatches and mix instructions for 1 part, 2 parts and 3 parts water. Each page full of swatches shows a range of tones and saturation. In the beginning of the guide Boogert explains the use of color in painting and then how to create certain hues and how to change tones. The book itself is the most comprehensive guide of its time, it was also intended to be an educational guide, but it was the only one of its kind and very likely was seen by very few eyes.
Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours
This next book was first published in 1814 (149 years before Pantone’s first color book) in the pre-photographic age and was the preeminent guide to color and its classification for artists, scientists, naturalists and anthropologists in the 19th century. This book provided incredible detail about each color and where to find it in nature. The guide was first devised by German mineralogist Abraham Gottlob Werner in the late 18th-century. Soon after Scottish painter, Patrick Syme updated Werner’s guide, matching color swatches and his own list of examples to expand upon it. This book is now republished by Smithsonian Books as a pocket-sized guide providing a historic look into the connection between colors and nature.
Of course, now we all use Pantone, it is the standard for matching color. Be the first 5 to Call or email us today firstname.lastname@example.org for a Pantone book to use in the design of your next project.