If you don't know already, you should. Pantone is the way for designers to communicate printed colour.
“The PANTONE® name is known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer.” - This comes directly from the company, and they have every reason to toot their own horn.
Responsible for some of the most innovative technological systems within the industry - not without their fair share of cardboard swatches - the Pantone Matching System has helped designers, printers, artists and pretty much everybody who deals with colour in one way or another.
The Pantone Colour Matching system is essentially a digital machine that uses a multitude of cameras, lenses, and a digital database that houses all of the Pantone colours. Oh, as well as specific algorithms created to “invent” custom colors and shades right there on the spot. You can now use almost any image or object and create a realistic and near duplicate colour for other uses.
So why does it matter to you?
Simple, Pantone articulates to a printer the exact colour that you want to see. And probably the fact it's now the industry standard.
Pantone colours are identified by a series of numbers as opposed to names, you will hear the reference PANTONE 2985 C instead of Sky Blue. Fantastic when one persons idea of Sky Blue is very different to anothers - simply look at the colour code and agree peacefully that neither were right.
Pantone also elect one colour every year to hold their "Colour of the Year" title. So if you've been seeing Emerald 17-5641 everywhere this year, you know who to thank.