What is the Pantone Colour of the Year and Why Should You Care?

What is the Pantone Colour of the Year and Why Should You Care?

In about five months, Pantone will announce its 2019 Colour of the Year and regardless of whether you’re familiar with the brand or not, you might be wondering what the Colour of the Year is about and what it means for marketers. Before we dive into it, it’s important to have a better understanding of the company that created it.

What is Pantone?

Pantone was founded in the 1950s as a commercial printing company, originally known as M & J Advertising. In 1956, owners Mervine and Jesse Levine hired university graduate Lawrence Herbert to help out in the ink and paint department and let’s just say that was a solid decision. His knowledge of chemistry allowed him to simplify and systemize the company’s coloured ink supplies and by 1962, his department became much more profitable than the rest of the business. Seeing this trend, he purchased M & J from the Levines and renamed it “Pantone” in 1962.

Once this famous reorg took place, Pantone became a world-class authority on colour matching and it still is to this day. They also a manufacturer of exterior and interior paints, coloured fabrics, and even plastics.

Colour of the Year

Since 2000, Pantone, in conjunction with other colour standards groups from around the world, have hand-selected individual colours to represent each year. Curious to know which colours were chosen to represent in past years? This is their full list so far:

• 2000 – Cerulean
• 2001 – Fuchsia Rose
• 2002 – True Red
• 2003 – Aqua Sky
• 2004 – Tigerlily
• 2005 – Blue Turquoise
• 2006 – Sand Dollar
• 2007 – Chili Pepper
• 2008 – Blue Iris
• 2009 – Mimosa
• 2010 – Turquoise
• 2011 – Honeysuckle
• 2012 – Tangerine Tango
• 2013 – Emerald
• 2014 – Radiant Orchid
• 2015 – Marsala
• 2016 – Rose Quartz and Serenity (2016 was a bit of an anomaly)
• 2017 – Greenery
• 2018 – Ultra Violet

While we’d love to know what kind of work goes into the selection process and how these colours are chosen, it’s all done in secret so we just have to trust that the colour gods have chosen correctly! The extent of what we know is that meetings are held for two days at different European capitals each year and that the winner is generally selected in the spring. That means that 2019’s Pantone has probably already been chosen!

The Importance of Colour

One thing is for sure: the Pantone Colour of the Year isn’t decided on a whim. Company experts constantly keep a pulse on trends and assess the value of colours and how they relate to the current year. Always meant to inspire, the yearly Pantone reminds us how much colour affects our mood and to be careful of which ones we surround ourselves with on a regular basis. According to the company, “colour has always been an integral part of how a culture expresses the attitudes and emotions of the times.” Can’t argue with that!

What colour do you think best suits the year 2018 so far?

Greg Plante
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