Boundless blue evocative of the sky at dusk, serene waters, ripe blueberries. Constant and classic. The perfect hue to usher in a new decade.
Each year the high court of colour, The Pantone Color Institute, announces a colour that defines the incoming year. The colour is chosen based on trend-forecasting research but is also heavily influenced by what is taking place around the world. Classic Blue instils and provokes connection, confidence and calm. Three qualities we could all use a little of right now.
“The reassuring qualities of the thought provoking Classic Blue highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.” - Pantone Color Institute
It is emblematic of stability, strength and peace; it is featured heavily on the flags of the United Nations, the European Union and 53% of the world’s flags. Its familiarity can also be attributed to its use in branding. Think: Facebook, Pepsi, Ford and Visa, who all use shades that closely resemble Pantone’s 2020 pick.
It is imprinted in our psyches as a restful colour; it brings a sense of peace and tranquillity. But it is also consistent, resilient and trustworthy like an old friend.
Pantone Color Institute Vice President Laurie Pressman spoke about the colour as a release and a refresh from the turbulence of the modern era. “We’re returning to classics because everything has been chaotic in the world,” she said.
How is Pantone’s colour of the year chosen?
Pantone hosts top secret colour meetings twice a year in a colourless room so that nothing influences their choice. A congregation of designers and creatives from all over the world pitch and debate which colours suit the current world climate.
Once sealed away, colours are rigorously analysed against everything that is appearing across the world. The committee combs all surrounding environments and ventures into multiple industries to identify colour trends. This can include the entertainment industry, modern art, fashion, technology, design, travel, environment and socio-economic conditions. The team then takes photos of what they see, what is being used ubiquitously and starts finding patterns, themes and trends. Eventually, a colour is chosen which represents the zeitgeist.
A brief history of Pantone’s colour of the year 2000-2020
Beginning in 2000, Pantone’s colour of the year has become the ultimate source of truth for designers and creatives alike. Take a look below at all the previous winners:
Serenity + Rose Quartz
Confident and resilient
Pantone noted that Classic Blue is omnipresent. The cool colour is consistently used in art, the beauty industry, automotive manufacturing, tech and even outer space. It is versatile and popular across industries. It can be used as a background, to frame or amplify vibrant colours. And it can also be used alone to make a bold statement.
Some critics have said that Pantone has ‘played it safe’. But maybe that is what we need heading into 2020 and a new decade. In times of unease, we gravitate towards things, people and colours that are honest and reliable.
“We’re living in this time now where things seem to be, around the world, a little bit...shaky,” said Laurie Pressman. “Nothing is absolutely certain from one moment to the next.”
Pantone's Color Institute has been selecting the colour of the year since 1999. They have been bang on year after year, picking colours that have defined and influences every facet of life. The Pantone Colour of the Year is not to be overlooked. We are certain that we will see a lot more Classic Blue in 2020.