Pantone: In Color We Trust

Where does the idea and concept of Color of the Year come from? We asked Leatrice Eiseman and Laurie Pressman, Executive Director and Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute

Where does the idea and concept of Color of the Year come from? We asked Leatrice Eiseman and Laurie Pressman, Executive Director and Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute. To follow, in the year of Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral, a tribute to one of the rarest and most precious raw materials: Coral, of course.



The color we select to be the Pantone Color of the Year is the one that can communicate out the color message that best reflects what is happening in our global culture at a specific moment in time; a color we see crossing all areas of design that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude. The emotional part of color is such a large aspect of our decision making as we want to ensure that the colors we select are reflective of the collective mindset. With color and context so intertwined there really are reasons why a color family or individual color comes into prominence when it does, and for the most part the popularity of a color is symbolic of the age we are living in. In our continually shifting environment, one where we are so deluged with information and tethered to technology, consumers are craving human interaction, physical connection and social bonding. And just as coral reefs are a source of sustenance and shelter to sea life, vibrant yet mellow Pantone Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment, providing comfort and reassurance. From infancy through adulthood, the colors in your environment affect and express your deeper impulses. Specific to Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral, this is an affable and engaging coral shade, sociable and spirited, encouraging lighthearted activity symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits.



The role of color in fashion and interior design is always important as it relates to trend. What has changed over the last 10 years is that these areas, especially fashion, no longer dictate the way they once did. Today’s consumers look at color as lifestyle so instead of one area of design playing the role of sole arbiter as it might have in the past, other areas of design are growing in importance and the result is each of these areas are influencing each another. Social media has had an extremely powerful impact on color and design accelerating the speed of trends at an rapid pace to a global audience. Technology as well as digital animation has opened up a whole new world of colors. With our physical and digital lives increasingly fused, onscreen color has made its way into the physical world. And color is one of the first elements of a retail product that sticks in the mind: the human eye sees and relates at an emotional level, creating associations and immediate reactions. As the purchase. 



Color instantly communicates a brand’s DNA or the message or intent behind a product, so the “right” color will indicate to consumers who they are and tie that color directly to their brand message. Beyond the selection of the right color, the consistent communication of that color across all materials where that brand is present – from product packaging to signage and logos – is even more powerful as it communicates high-quality and conveys a cohesive message that builds brand associations and loyalty both on- and off- the shelf and differentiates versus competitive products. On the contrary, missteps in the final product or packaging can be recognized almost immediately and can appear as a mistake or perceived as counterfeit. This in turn will deter a purchase or cause the consumer to question the quality of the brand or product, and in fact, for consumers, this single factor influences up to 85% of product purchase decisions.

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