Pantone’s Color of the Year: Selection and Accuracy

Since 2000, the Pantone Color Institute has been announcing the Pantone Color of the Year. The color is chosen after analyzing fashion shows, major art exhibitions, film releases, popular car models, and even viral advertisements from around the world. After the research is complete, representatives gather twice a year in Europe to determine the defining color for the coming year. The Color of the Year is selected from Pantone’s existing library, which is updated every two and a half year to keep up with current trends.

History of Pantone

Pantone is a U.S. corporation popularly known for the Pantone Matching System and sophisticated color measurement instruments. The business was founded in 1956 by two brothers named Mervin and Jesse Levine, who used their backgrounds in advertising and understanding of chemistry to launch a commercial printing company.

The Levine brothers hired Lawrence Herbert, a recent Hofstra grad, as a part-time chemist to simplify pigments and increase the production of colored inks. Eventually Herbert bought the brothers out, renamed the company Pantone, and transitioned the business to the production of thin cardboard color swatches known as Pantone Guides. This was the beginning of the color matching system, which allows designers to see how colors look on coated, uncoated, and matte stock through the chip book.

Since the development of Herbert’s color matching system, Pantone has expanded into many industries including digital technology, textiles, plastics, architecture, and paint.

Pantone Color of the Year 

Pantone’s Color of the Year is decided upon after compiling information from a number of industries, but it is also supposed to connect with the zeitgeist of the time. For example, the color of the year in 2011 was Honeysuckle. Pantone described this color as captivating and capable of lifting spirits. Inspired my music icons like Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, and Prince, this year’s Ultra Violet signifies counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance.

Significance of Color in Consumer Preferences

Color is an integral part of cultural expression and also plays a pivotal role in psychology and consumer preference. The significance of Pantone’s color selection can be seen across all industries, as was evident with Rose Quartz. Also known as millennial pink, this Color of the Year dominated internet trends in 2016. Of course, the Color of the Year also plays a role in fashion. Michelle Obama famously wowed the fashion community with a daring emerald gown in 2013 when it was still gaining popularity. 

According to Ad Age, a leading global source on marketing news, “Though it’s hard to say which comes first, the Color of the Year designation or the hue’s appearance across all categories of retail, it’s safe to say that by the end of the year, many consumers are buying the hue.”

Sources: Pantone | The Guardian | Architectural Digest | Strategic Factory | Ad Age | Pantone Wikia