Pantone Color of the Year: A Yearly Retrospective
Pantone has scoured the universe in search of color influences when choosing the Color of the Year. Check out this year's Color of the Year and follow the rainbow back for the last 21 years.
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2021: Illuminating and Ultimate Gray
For only the second time since the honors began in 2000, Pantone has chosen two colors for its Color of the Year.
Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, says the colors Ultimate Gray and Illuminating are “a combination that speaks to the resilience, the optimism and hope and positivity that we need, as we reset, renew, reimagine and reinvent.” Added Laurie Pressman, the Institute’s vice president: “The Pantone Color of the Year reflects what is taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for that color can hope to answer.”
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2020: Classic Blue
Eiseman notes that Classic Blue is “a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on.” The color inspires creative confidence in interiors, transforming a space through unique color combinations and tonal statements. Classic Blue is also a great accent with white surfaces.
2019: Living Coral
The 2019 Color of the Year, Living Coral, was vibrant and mellow. The playful color provided a welcome response to the onslaught of technology with its authentic and natural vibe that inspires connection. Living Coral is a natural welcome to spring, blooming beautifully in DIY flower and accent vases. Here is how Ikea celebrated Living Coral.
2018: Ultra Violet
“Ultra violet, a blue-based purple, takes our awareness and imagination to a new level,” noted Eiseman. The color celebrated non-conformity and creativity. Ultra violet is a great color to splash on walls of meditation spaces and art studios.
What’s not to love about green wall paint? Symbolic of new beginnings, Greenery is a fresh yellow-green color reminiscent of the first day of spring. Pops of Greenery in our homes help bring the outdoors in. A great way to bring the fresh feeling of Greenery into your home is through live and faux plants.
2016: Serenity and Rose Quartz
For the first time, Pantone blended two colors together — Rose Quartz and Serenity. Cooler tranquil blue and warmer rose tones reflect wellness and peace. The combination challenged traditional color associations reflecting a gender blur in fashion. Modern couples can find myriad ways to decorate nurseries using the combination.
2014: Radiant Orchid
“An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health,” Eiseman said. Radiant Orchid complements olive and hunter green and can be paired with turquoise, teal and even light yellows.
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Lush and lively Emerald is a bedazzled yet natural color in jewelry and has been popular in home decor. You can paint a room with this jewel tone to add a luxurious feel or spruce up your table with Emerald dinnerware.
2012: Tangerine Tango
“Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy,” said Eiseman. This color brought orange back to popularity in a big, bold way.
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Positive, confident and dynamic, Honeysuckle is a reddish-pink that makes you smile and reminds you of spring and summer. Pump up tired kitchen cabinets or repaint a picture frame with this convivial color. Top your table with honeysuckle placements or candles. Happy is always in style.
When blue and green unite to create Turquoise, the senses automatically start swimming in serene tropical waters. Combining warm and cool undertones, turquoise pairs well with just about any color. For a deep dive, read Ellen Meloy’s book, “The Anthropology of Turquoise,” to learn about this color’s healing power.
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During a time of economic uncertainty and political change, Pantone chose to bring hope and sunshine into the world by toasting Mimosa. The color makes a room feel warm and creates the sense you are outdoors. The sunny color has been used often in furnishings and on tabletops.
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2008: Blue Iris
Blue was the hue back in 2008 for many of the reasons it resonates today. Unlike Classic Blue, however, Blue Iris adds purple to the mix. “As a reflection of the times, Blue Iris brings together the dependable aspect of blue, underscored by a strong, soul-searching purple cast,” noted Eiseman. “Emotionally, it is anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic.”
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2007: Chili Pepper
“In 2007, we’re going to see people making greater strides toward expressing their individuality,” said Lisa Herbert, executive vice president of the fashion, home and interiors division at Pantone. Chili Pepper was a spicy choice, adding drama and excitement to interiors. Play up your home’s strengths with these interior design tips you can try today.
2006: Sand Dollar
In 2006, the experts chose a neutral color, Sand Dollar, as the Color of the Year. This color’s organic vibe conjures up images of the desert and beach. Sand Dollar is timeless, and can be used in home furnishings, accessories and many craft projects.
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2005: Blue Turquoise
The 2005 Color of the Year, Blue Turquoise, contains less green than the Turquoise of 2010. A cooler chroma, Blue Turquoise is the color of the Caribbean Sea. Give any room an ocean vibe by adding a rug or wall art in this aquatic hue. If you love being poolside next to all that blue, you’re sure to swoon over these jaw-dropping pools.
Tigerlily celebrates nature with a bold fusion of yellow and red. An early forecaster of obsession with orange, Tigerlily blooms beautifully in the home. The perennially popular color adds energy to any room and is featured in many DIY craft projects.
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2003: Aqua Sky
Look skyward and you can see and feel the calming power of powdery blue Aqua Sky. This color often shows up in homes, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Whether you’re looking to feel relaxed or energized, these color trends can give your bathroom a much-needed refresh.
2002: True Red
This strong, powerful color may have been selected to pay tribute to the courage of the country following the attacks of 9/11. True Red is a bold color that celebrates bravery and the strength of the heart.
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2001: Fuchsia Rose
Little has been written about why Pantone selected its first few Color of the Year winners, such as Fuchsia Rose. While the color would be a little much if used on a wall, it adds a welcome pop of color on a pillow or ottoman. Learn how to incorporate pink and patterned pillows with these trending living room ideas.
Pantone launched the Color of the Millennium with Cerulean, noting that consumers would be seeking inner peace and spiritual fulfillment as they entered the new millennium. Two decades later, we are still celebrating blue.
“Our studies show that blue is the leading favorite color for designers and consumers worldwide, regardless of culture, gender or geographic origin,” said Lisa Herbert, vice president of corporate communications worldwide for Pantone, Inc.
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