Make it Brilliant

After more than 50 years as the leading provider of color tools for design and manufacturing professionals, Pantone desired to be known by a broader audience while still demonstrating their heritage, expertise and authority in the creation of color.

After a brand strategy assignment, Sub Rosa refreshed the brand’s reason for being, crystallizing it into the new internal and external messaging: “Make it Brilliant.” A campaign to introduce this tagline was then designed, developed, and produced.

The final product took the form of photographic assets for all online and offline channels that brought to life the brand’s new positioning while also raising awareness of Pantone’s core products for the Print, Fashion+Home, and Plastics professionals. Additionally, Sub Rosa managed the brand’s social media channels, drawing a substantial audience with a refreshed and cohesive content and engagement strategy that was then transitioned, with training, to internal Pantone resources, ensuring a seamless transfer and a sustainable way forward.


Client Conversation


Initial conversations with Pantone confirmed specifically which of the brand’s aspirations and ambitions the strategy needed to bring to life. Foremost, the strategy needed to produce a tool for communication: an inspiration, a new voice, a way to capture attention from both existing and new customers. Additionally, the repositioning was to be a tool for the sales team to highlight each of the three product areas of Pantone, distinctively and cohesively (Print, Fashion & Home, Plastics). The creative campaign needed to introduce a new visual language in a way that satisfied all contexts and applications while remaining consistent and compelling. To respect resources, the campaign also needed to bridge the gap between the physical and the digital worlds, creating something that would resonate visually, eliciting sharing through social networks and garnering press.


To guide the development of the positioning strategy and creative campaign direction, an initial Discovery phase was undertaking to uncover insights about the brand, audience and industry. While unique and valuable individually, each pointed to a deeper, more fundamental truth: Pantone was not a provider of color tools, but a color intelligence company that channels insights into distinctive products and services for the B2B and B2C markets. This shift rooted the value of the brand in their intellect and expertise in applying the psychology of color to new products, creating a more defensible and differentiated positioning.

Our Work


Through a series of stakeholder interviews, assessment of Pantone’s direct and indirect competitors, and an audit of Pantone’s core demographic, Sub Rosa developed a brand strategy that identified the brand’s core audiences, its values, and future-focused positioning. This strategy was then translated into an industry and consumer facing tagline (“Make it Brilliant”) and campaign. When crafting the tagline, Sub Rosa carefully considered how it would be interpreted and internalized by each stakeholder. For Pantone internally, “Make it Brilliant” became a rallying cry, a goal and a standard that they could hold themselves to each day. For color professionals, it became an inspiration to make their work bold and brilliant.


For those that set color and design trends, it reflected intelligence; smart, savvy insight that kept them on-trend and ahead of the curve. For consumers who buy Pantone’s licensed products, it represented an unseen but invaluable ingredient — adding a special nuance that caused the product to outshine others.

These considerations became constraints for the creative campaign and added to this was cost effectiveness and showing the full range of Pantone’s products. To solve for these constraints, the campaign strategy leveraged a tryptic design, enabling a holistic image to be created while also providing an opportunity to edit into additional, individual images — each speaking to the particulars of a Pantone product line.


Internal: Transformed Culture

Internal: Transformed Culture

A core component to the project — defining the brand’s essence and values — reminded employees of the potential of the brand and the revitalized the spirit of the culture.

External: Unprecedented Coverage

Community Growth: More than 23,000 new followers and fans across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest (a growth of approximately 200%).

Content Excellence: Within eight months, Pantone’s ranking on Instagram went from unranked to the #5 most-popular and engaged-with account on the platform (as reported by industry-recognized Nitrogram).

Audience Refinement: The design-minded creative was engaged with most heavily, as was the target influential audience of females aged 25-34.