What's up, Pantone?

We've all been given a £6 Pantone mug for Christmas by now. It may come as no surprise to anyone familiar (or not) with the licencing and branding industry that Pantone haven't stopped at mugs and tastefully applied their distinctive multi-hued identity to a whole slue of kitchen wares from tins to bathroom scales.

Some years back I attended a packaging convention in Phoenix, AZ, where one of the speakers was an enthusiast lady from Pantone, who breathlessly explained how Pantone's strategy was to "own colour". I thought this to be a rather ambitious goal, but if anyone could do it, they could. If it was done with style, taste and attention to detail, why not?

There have been all manner of mouth-watering design concepts for all sorts of Pantone products aside from the all the kitchen wares. But, the obvious one, paint, carries none of the design literacy that the mugs display and other colour-related categories like nail varnish and make up remain as tantalising design concepts. Why?

You'd think–if a brand's strategic objective was to "own colour" (sorry, "color")–the place to start would be product categories that are actually about colour. But, what do I know?