Each year, the Pantone Color Institute declares a "Color of the Year" predicted to have a strong showing in global design and color trends. Pantone's color selection influences runway trends, home furnishings, graphic design, and product packaging. Indeed, Pantone has an entire list of Color of the Year partners who monetize this trend in one way or another, including Away luggage, which promptly offers a Color of the Year line in four sizes.
Pantone's Color of the Year selection is often inspired by cultural context, so every year's selection is dissected and questioned by design enthusiasts and armchair analysts around the world. This year's selection is Classic Blue (Pantone 19-4052, to be exact), a color selection described by Pantone as "instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era."
Doubling down on the zeitgeist of unrest as we enter a new decade, Pantone adds, "As technology continues to race ahead of the human ability to process it all, it is easy to understand why we gravitate to colors that are honest and offer the promise of protection. Non-aggressive and easily relatable, the trusted PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue lends itself to relaxed interaction. Associated with the return of another day, this universal favorite is comfortably embraced."
It's worth noting that Pantone conducts heavy research into trends ranging from makeup to manufacturing to automotive before selecting their color of the year--as do other brands with an interest in establishing themselves as color experts.
Behr Paint selected Back to Nature S340-4 as their 2020 Color of the Year, proclaiming that "as we enter the next decade, we strive for vibrancy in life and shape it how we choose. As nature's favorite color, Back to Nature is a restorative and revitalizing green hue that engages the senses and pairs well with other colors both inside and outside your home."
Not to be outdone, Benjamin Moore declared First Light 2102-70 as their Color of the Year. Calling it the "backdrop for a bright new decade," Benjamin Moore describes this perky blush hue as "A fresh palette. A revitalized spirit. A soft, rosy hue blooming with potential."
Why should you care about these Color of the Year declarations? A few reasons:
Whether in graphic design or in product development, colors placed into high circulation become trends and can help drive sales. Even if you can't integrate the major Pantone Color of the Year into your product line, consider rolling it into your marketing or social media campaigns as a reflection of your relevancy and trend awareness.
All three of the above Color of the Year selections are backed with research, and the outcome of this year's color selections reflects a consumer desire for rest, reset, peace, and a calm spirit. How can you take this broad consumer "want" and position your marketing message to highlight a relevant solution in your product base?
Consider the messaging of your marketing strategy in general. Is there an opportunity to dial back on appeals based on the fear of missing out(or fear in general), in exchange for a promise of peace and calm?
Ultimately, color trends are just that--trends. They shouldn't dictate a shift away from your core marketing strategy, but they do offer research-based insights on consumer mindsets that can help you put a fresh new lens on how you highlight your company's value proposition through both message and design.