Topic 3: Keeping Up With Colour Trends

Topic 3: Keeping Up With Colour Trends

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Each year, Pantone selects a colour for the coming year. Pantone’s colour gurus draw influences for each year’s signature hue from across the world and across cultural sectors—films, art exhibits, popular travel destinations, technology, sporting events, and even socio-economic conditions can play a role in determining the colour.

Sometimes their choice is not enjoyed by everyone – think ‘Radiant Orchid’ the colour of the year for 2014, which was not appreciated by many people, yet it was still universally adopted! (see below)

If you Google ‘Pantone colour swatches’ you should find more information relating to colour, and often if you Google ‘Colour Trends’ you will come across lots of blogs relating to current colour trends.

The Pantone website covers this really well, and if you go to their website here and click on ‘Color Intelligence’@ top LHS a dropdown menu listing Pantone Colors of the Year appears and you will learn more:

Pantone Colour of the Year, 2020

Pantone Color of the Year 2020 is called ‘Classic Blue’, a calm, confident and universal hue. To read more about Classic Blue, you can go to the Pantone website here:

Pantone Colour of the Year, 2019

Pantone Color of the Year 2019 is called ‘Living Coral’, a warm, natural and mellow hue. To read more about Living Coral, you can go to the Pantone website here:

Pantone Colour of the Year, 2018

Pantone Color of the Year 2018 is called ‘Ultra Violet’, a vibrant shade of purple. To read more about Ultra Violet, you can go to the Pantone website here:

Pantone Colour of the Year, 2017

Described on their website as ‘refreshing and revitalizing shade, symbolic of new beginnings’, Pantone’s color of the year for 2017 is Greenery.
According to Pantone, ‘Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.’ See Fig. 6

For more on Pantone Color of the Year 2017, go to:

Also, Pantone’s Instagram has amazing images featuring their color of the year here:


Pantone Colour of the Year, 2016

As they say on their website, this year Pantone have opted for a ‘softer take on colour’, saying that “for the first time, the blending of two shades – Rose Quartz and Serenity are chosen as the PANTONE Colour of the Year for 2016”See Fig. 6a

The rationale goes something like this: “As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colours that psychologically fulfil our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent. Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

The prevalent combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity also challenges traditional perceptions of colour association.

In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted colour trends throughout all other areas of design. This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer’s increased comfort with using colour as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to colour usage.”

Pantone Colour of the Year, 2015

Pantone nominated the colour ‘Marsala’ as their chosen colour for 2015. Possibly in response to some of the negativity met by the previous year’s chosen colour, Radiant Orchid, Marsala appears to be an earthier and potentially more versatile hue, with less gender specific connotations than its predecessor. The colour is a good fit for current trends, of earthiness, natural fibres and materials and industrial overtones.


Marsala  is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors”, says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute®

Nurturing and fulfilling, Marsala is a natural fit for the kitchen and dining room – making it ideal for tabletop, small appliances and linens throughout the home.”


Previous Colours of the Year: 2014

fig8-pantoneThe Pantone colour of the year 2014 was Radiant Orchid, a pinky purple-y hue which met with a mixed reception online.  See Fig. 8

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®, described Radiant Orchid at the time as “an enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple, and pink undertones”.

While the 2013 colour of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal, and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the colour wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” said Eiseman. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”

For interiors, Pantone recommended using Radiant Orchid in paint, accent pieces, and accessories; ‘try the versatile shade with olive and deeper hunter greens, turquoise, teal, and light yellows. Not feeling so bold? Liven up your neutral spaces (gray, beige, taupe) with a ‘pop ‘of the colour‘.

Some blogs didn’t share Eisman’s enthusiasm for the colour that went on to dominate fashion, makeup and interiors across the next twelve months. It was seen by some bloggers as being too feminine, too much and too ‘nanna’!!

Decide for yourself!

Previous Colours of the Year

Pantone’s colour for 2013 was Emerald, so we saw emerald in fashion and everywhere! Vibrant blue was also to be very popular, colour blocking in fashion and particularly as an accent in interior design. Grey and charcoal seem also to trend well in interior design, particularly in bathrooms.

Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2012 was Tangerine.

You can research colour further by visiting and reading articles here on the Pantone website:

The Pantone site features products as well as information on trends. Sign up to ‘my Pantone’ for free to access the latest information and fully explore the site.

Purchasing a Pantone Colour Swatch Book

Often Pantone Colour Swatches come as a two book set. I would suggest that to obtain Pantone Colour Swatches, simply Google ‘Buy Pantone Colour Swatches’ and you should find a reasonable price for an online purchase.

You will see that there are many to choose from, so it can be rather confusing. You don’t need to purchase them all! Our advice is to start out small, with ‘Pantone Colour Bridge, Coated’, and if you wish, ‘Pantone Colour Bridge, Uncoated’.

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