By now we are quite familiar with Pantone’s soft hued colors of 2016, rose quartz and serenity. While pining over these trendy tones, I found myself not so familiar with Pantone itself; mostly why & how the color of the year is chosen. This comes as an alarming unknown, especially considering this company painted the inside of my spring closet.
Pantone began its rise to power through a man named Lawerence Herbert, who standardized pigments at his part-time commerical printing job. Now why is standardizing pigments something you should care anything about? In creating the Pantone Matching System (PMS), Herbert allowed people around the world to refer to the same color without being in direct contact with one another. If you’re still reading & still asking why this is so revoluntionary, please refer to Miranda Priestly, from The Devil Wears Prada, as she lectures her ignorant assistant on the importance of a single hue,
“You go to your closet and you select out, oh I don’t know, that lumpy blue sweater, for instance, because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise, it’s not lapis, it’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns… And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers…However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs..”
What Miranda may not have known (but probably did) is that cerulean was Pantone’s color of the year in 2000 – two years before Oscar de La Renta’s collection, revealing the mysterious connection between the fashion industry and a nerdy guy named Herbert. More importantly, no matter where you are in the world de La Renta’s iconic shade of blue is cerulean.
Pantone: The Company Behind Color
Pantone makes $19 million dollars a year selling the language of color to fabric, textile, and graphic designers worldwide. As the most widely used language of color, Pantone uses the input from their industry to forecast popular hues, or the color of the year. – but, not so fast, what makes these colors more desirable and profitable than others?
Secret Color Society
In dramatic fashion, Pantone’s Leatrice Eisemen (the boss-lady of Pantone’s color of the year) invites various color standard representatives to attend a secret meeting in a secret location over the span of two days. Then at the end of the two days, a color symbolizing the current times is chosen.
The Symbolic Selection
Pantone bases their symbolic selection off of “the mood or attitude” of current times. For example, Rose Quartz is a “persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure”, while serenity is “weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times”. 2016 was the first year two blended hues were used as the color of the changing times. As many parts of the world experience a gender blur, the blend of Rose Quartz and Serenity are meant to challenge gender stereotypes. Bravo, Pantone, bringing color to a revolutionary time & a current issue as well as a creative outlet to fashionista(o)s everywhere.
What’s your favorite Pantone color?
Here are some of my selections from “the people in this room choosing items from a pile of stuff”