In the year 2000, Pantone, a company most known for its precision color matching system, announced its very first Color of the Year. By 2007, the December announcement of Pantone’s Color of the Year had become a much-anticipated event, forecasting graphic design, fashion, and product trends. Companies partner with Pantone to release a limited slate of products, all coordinating with the Color of the Year. But why, Pantone? And how do they determine their color of the year?
In the 1950s, a chemist named Lawrence Herbert was working at a graphic design firm in New York. His task was to assess, label, number, and systematize the company’s stock of pigments and production color inks. By the early 1960s, Herbert owned the firm, renamed it Pantone, and introduced the Pantone Color Matching System. By using the Pantone system, there’s no question over the idea of “Blue.” It’s a specific blue, with a name and a number.
The Pantone Color Matching system makes sure what a designer designs is what the consumer gets. By matching a particular shade of blue to a Pantone swatch, the intended color remains consistent throughout the design process.
Nowadays, Pantone is a world leader in color. The Pantone Color Institute offers consultations on palate development, color psychology, custom brand color, and color trend forecasting. Pantone color experts travel the world and see how and where colors are being used. This forecasting has led to the thing that Pantone is potentially most famous for: The Color of The Year.
Color of the Year
Starting in 2000, Pantone’s Color Institute’s color expert started selecting a Color of the Year. The Color of the Year is meant to embody not only color trends but the energy of the year. 2019’s Color of the Year, Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral, was chosen to be life-affirming and energizing, while 2014’s Color of the Year, Pantone 18-3224 Radiant Orchid was chosen to invoke warmth and imagination.
Color of the Library
While our physical spaces remain closed, lapl.org is always open. Below you’ll find some recommended titles not only on Pantone, but other books and classes on color and color theory. And to find out which Pantone Color of year are you, take the quiz below.