Pantone Pairings Mix Color And Cuisine

Some things are simply better together. Take peanut butter and jelly (or, PB&J if you prefer) for example. Spread the salty paste across bread without its sugar-filled counterpart and you’re bound to experience a stuck-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth crisis. Cover an English muffin with gooey grape goodness, and your breakfast sacrifices the protein to keep you from raiding the pantry in an hour.

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When it comes to marrying edible fare, however, David Schwen knows a thing or two about pairing harmony. From spaghetti and meatballs to cookies and milk, Schwen has come up with a series of Pantone Pairings, color chips that take on a good-enough-to-eat appearance and are featured on his Instagram page.

Though the colors generally maintain the square swatch design (like the swatch of breaded chicken coupled with the checkered grid of a waffle), some take on more abstract forms. The aforementioned milk is a bit spilled, and the chocolate sauce that accompanies a quartered strawberry includes an outside-the-box drip stain.

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The Pantone Pairings have become a hit with @dschwen’s 30,841 followers, and he has promised prints will soon be available for purchase. Each new post stimulates tons of chatter. Schwen has even begun taking suggestions, creating Pantone Potatoes and Pantone Gravy at one person’s insistence. He has yet to make pork chops and applesauce (a brilliant suggestion, in my opinion), but with a new one each day since February, it could be on the docket for a future date. In the meantime, it’s hard enough to choose a favorite. While Pantone Wasabi and Pantone Soy Sauce earn my vote for most original, Pantone Macaroni and Pantone Cheese look quite happy together.

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Want more ideas on how to create your own popular graphics using color? Check out this book from