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Bat-swatchbook please, Boy Wonder

2009 December 15

The Robot 6 blog has pointed out a fascinating artifact from the 1990s’ Batman: The Animated Series, the show’s writers’ bible, available for download as a PDF.

The series, itself, was a milestone in American cartoons, not least for its tremendous sense of design. Much thought was undoubtedly expended in creating the show’s stylized world of streamlined, timeless set and character designs. The series bible was ostensibly directed at writers, but is also chock-full of model sheets and sample graphics.

From a graphic design perspective, however, the biggest and best surprise has to be Pantone color guides for all of the show’s main characters (beginning on page 86 of the PDF). The Joker’s purple suit? A surprisingly mild PMS 272. (You could probably find people actually wearing tuxedoes of a similar shade, back in the ’70s.) The green hair? PMS 340… the same shade as Catwoman’s obviously-vivid green eyes.

Vivid villains (when the proper Pantone colors are used)

Vivid villains (when the proper Pantone colors are used)

Stupendous.

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