A team of about 20 people at Pantone, a company that develops color systems for a variety of industries, spends the bulk of every year analyzing cultural influences, socioeconomic conditions, and aesthetic trends--from new movies and technology to hot travel spots. All of this to crown a new shade the next Color of the Year.
Scroll on to find out what's soon to be the most important color in business--the inspiration for it this year is a little surprising--along with a look at the past 10 years of Pantone's Colors of the Year.
2019: Living Coral
What it conveys: Life-affirming, optimism, joy.
In recent years, the winning colors have given a nod to uncertain, anxious times. This year was no exception: 2019, Pantone has declared, is the year of "Living Coral." The company specifically cited "the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life" as a factor in its decision. Coral is described as something of an antidote: This vivid, energetic shade comes from the decidedly offline world of under the sea.
2018: Ultra Violet
What it conveys: originality, ingenuity, the future.
Among the influences behind this year's Ultra Violet, Pantone cited Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix. The underlying theme here? They're all pop culture symbols of nonconformity and the counterculture. There were a lot of theories about the political message here, given that red and blue mixed becomes purple.
What it conveys: regeneration, vitality.
"The fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate, and reinvigorate," Pantone said in 2017. In other words, after a tumultuous 2016, let's all take a breather.
2016: Rose Quartz and Serenity
What they convey: Rose Quartz is all about compassion and composure while Serenity brings respite in stormy times.
For the first time ever, Pantone chose two colors to represent the upcoming year. It was a deliberate move to symbolize gender equality.
What it conveys: warmth, confidence, stability.
Here's how Pantone describes shade 18-1438: "Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal" while also exuding a "sophisticated, natural earthiness." And arguably unlike last year's Radiant Orchid, this is a shade Pantone says appeals to both men and women.
2014: Radiant Orchid
What it conveys: confidence, warmth.
According to Pantone, Radiant Orchid is an "invitation to innovation" that "encourages expanded creativity and originality."
What it conveys: regeneration, clarity, healing, renewal.
Pantone picked a lively green shade for 2013 that it described as one of "elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance, and harmony."
2012: Tangerine Tango
What it conveys: heat, drama.
This "seductive" reddish orange, says Pantone, offers a hard-to-miss shot of energy.
What it conveys: courage, confidence, carefree.
Honeysuckle is a shade designed to lift the spirits. At the time of the selection, Pantone called it "a brave new color for a brave new world."
What it conveys: comfort, healing, compassion, truth.
2010 was the year of turquoise--a color inspired by the water and the sky. "Through years of color word-association studies, we also find that to many people, turquoise represents an escape, taking them to a tropical paradise that is pleasant and inviting--even if it is only a fantasy," Pantone said in a news release.
What it conveys: warmth, optimism, reassurance.
With the economy in turmoil, Pantone looked for a warm and reassuring hue to represent 2009. Mimosa, which mimics the "nurturing quality of the sun," made the cut.