Serenity Now! Fanfare for Pantone’s Color of the Year: 2016
Pantone released its Color of the Year, and, when we saw it, we nodded an unspoken, yesss! For the first time since 2000, when the famed Color Institute launched the designation, a blend of two shades were named the Color (note: singular) of the Year—Rose Quartz (PANTONE 13-1520) and Serenity (PANTONE 15-3919).
Were the hue gurus embroiled in some sort of design deadlock? We knew better. After all, Pantone introduced the color matching system that standardized tones across different platforms and print jobs. They’re the gold standard of color selection in many industries (ours included), and have eliminated guesswork and design-jobs-gone-bad over final products that are amethyst when the client wanted aubergine. No, this was no impasse, rather a thoughtful mix of the hues they anticipated would resonate best in today’s market, where color has become an increasingly powerful means of expression, its very nature and our perception of it changing by the nanosecond in this digital age.
According to the Pantone Color Institute, the Color of the Year is “a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.” It’s an emblem of the current landscape; culled from trends in fashion, travel destinations, art, film and technology. What’s particularly interesting about this year’s “snapshot” is its fluidity, the way it harmonizes two very different experiences. “Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer, embracing rose tone and the cooler, tranquil blue,” says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. The effect is meant to reflect a “connection and wellness, as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.”
People have long responded to this duality of comfort and calm, warm and cool. Just look at the success of hot yoga or the way a gathered crowd on the beach is moved to clap after a fiery, magnificent sunset slips into an indigo sky. Yet somehow this color blend feels particularly apt this year. It’s an ocular oasis, a sort of visual antidote to today’s breakneck pace, stresses and societal turbulence. At least that’s Pantone’s bet, and you can be sure we’ll be scouring the new lines of top fashion designers and devouring interior design magazines to see if they’re right.
In the meantime, the color conscious everywhere—not just designers—have gained a font of inspiration. Inspiration that Three Bean Press art director Julie Kelly finds especially exciting, as the two colors blur lines and gender norms and create a dual launch pad from which to base a color palette. If there’s a greater chance your client will respond to your design? All the better.