It’s been months since we talked about the Colour of the Year, and all that time there’s been a big name missing from the conversation. Indeed, it’s the name when it comes to colours. Pantone quite literally wrote the book, named, numbered and catalogued the colours. All of them. No organisation is so single-mindedly specialised when it comes to colour science.
But there’s another reason why we like to listen to these experts when they sense a shifting in the trends:
They’re not trying to sell you anything!
[Aside from the odd mug or colour booklet.]
That’s right! As an organisation, Pantone isn’t luring us to repaint and redecorate every year to keep up with a fad. Quite simply, they look all over the world, at the works of art, design, architecture and even advertising; they see what palettes are being used more and which less, and they project forward.
So it’s always interesting to see which trends they’ve seen come to the fore, and which they’ve seen subsiding. Colour can get your heart racing. It can make you catch your breath or it can soothe you. The dominant colours in your day can impact your sleep and change your state-of-mind. There are few elements of design that are so ubiquitous and powerful.
After several years of hot pastels – most recently the 2019 choice of Living Coral – we’ve noted a stark shift by many of the prognosticators towards darker, more sombre and literally cooler tones.
None of this is about competition, of course, but it’s interesting to note how similar this choice is to that of Sherwin-Williams and their Naval colour back in October. It’s strong, somehow commandingly calming in its application.
As S-W also showed, despite the sombreness, there’s plenty of playfulness in block colours with rich flare.
What could be more appropriate for this time of growing environmental awareness?