What Do You Think of Pantone's Color of the Year?

16th Jan 2020

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Did you know that if you ask a crowd of people what their favorite color is – blue is the most common answer. 


In fact, according to a  House Beautiful Color Report, 29% of people polled, chose some hue of blue as their favorite color. 

So—what's so enticing about this rockingly popular color?

Maybe it's how blue makes you feel. Psychologists found that light shades of blue (think baby blue, sky blue, powder blue, and the like) bring about feelings of calmness and serenity, while the deeper blue shades (navy, Prussian, sapphire, etc.) have an underlying message of stability and reliability. Let's face it, those are pretty solid emotional escapes. 

No matter what you personally think of  this year's Pantone pick, it will have many fans. 

Have you ever wondered who plucks the Color of the Year out of the rainbow? There is actually a Grand Dame of color. The final say goes to Leatrice Eiseman, who is the Executive Director of the Pantone® Color Institute and has earned the secondary title as "International Color Guru." Pretty cool, right?


Her process of excavating the coveted color of the year involves a well-stamped passport. She and her colorful team take annual trips to fashion-centric countries like London, Paris, and Milan, trolling for emerging colors. While they look at a myriad of other contributing factors, they will confess to also being film buffs and chatting with car companies whose technology is planned "light years ahead." Car manufacturers know that the right or wrong color car is going to persuade you to drive it home.

If you wonder how the Pantone color choice of the year will 

affect your life, I would say, subtly at first, then surprisingly... a lot. 

As you read this, marketers are changing their fonts to use this distinct blue. Clothing manufacturers are buying "classic blue" inspired fabrics to flood designer racks. Paint companies will soon have room scenes with this oceanic blue backdrop. There will likely be a new classic blue nail polish, and dare I say—lipstick. All sorts of "makers" will be looking to see how they can leverage this color, knowing that it will soon be seeping into your subconscious.

Don't tell anyone, but I often wonder if the color trend specialists weigh the psychological significance of the color before they choose it. Are they picking the color of the year as a fortune-cooking-like inspiration to us all? If so, Pantone's wish for us with their 2020 pick is that it will usher in "a reassuring presence instilling calm, confidence and connection."

Those of us who work with color can't help but play some creative gymnastics with this soon to be a popular pick. As a designer, I am energized about what colors will pair well with this depth of blue. Can you imagine a brown-sugar colored leather against a navy wallpaper or vibrant orange with classic blue (which, by the way, is a for-sure-stunner for an edgier vibe)? Feel like adding a glam-spin? Try playing with some pops of fuchsia. 

I have to say, when you open up to the possibilities, it's amazing the drama you can create with this Classic Blue as the anchoring color.

Cirrus Comfort Air - Ultrasuede True Blue

If you find all this too trendy to relate to... how about we explore a 3500-year old study?

Chakras are an ancient philosophy that associates a color with different meridians to your body. The Blue Chakra refers to your throat. Some believe that by focusing on the color blue while meditating, you will help tap into your voice linked to self-expression and expand your ability to communicate effectively. 

Still not convinced that you may go on a blue shopping spree?

Did you know that some weight loss plans recommend you eat your food off of a blue plate? Yep, food is considered less appetizing when served up on a blue surface. (Spoiler alert: I tried this (immediately) and found that my appetite was still impressively hearty.)

Like all trends the more often you see them, the more you inadvertently start to appreciate them. Several months from now, you may find yourself wearing a Classic Blue T-shirt, mindfully discussing your feelings... We'll see. 

Make it interesting and you'll never need perfect.

Amy Archer, the Barefooted Designer