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Pantone’s Colour Of The Year 2016

In Uncategorized | on Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pantone Inc is an American company based in New Jersey, best known for its Pantone Matching System (PMS). The PMS is a proprietary colour space used by a variety of different industries, primarily the printing industry, but also in the manufacture of fabrics, plastics, and paints.

By standardising the colours in the PMS, different manufacturers and printing companies in different locations can all refer to the same colour-matching system in order to ensure colours match exactly, even in the absence of direct contact.

Using the Pantone Colour Matching System

The PMS is often used to standardise the colours in the CMYK process, so named for the four colours involved: cyan, magenta, yellow, and key black. It is a colour space model that involves subtracting brightness from a white background using the different coloured inks in turn.

The majority of printed materials in the world are done using the CMYK process, and there is actually a special subset of Pantone colours which can be accurately reproduced using CMYK. However, most of the Pantone system’s 1114 spot colours can’t be simulated with CMYK, and require 14 base pigments mixed in specific amounts.

The Pantone system allows a wide variety of colours to be produced, including fluorescents and metallics, but many of them are outside the capability of the CMYK process, and instead are translated into the RGB colour space.

Facts about Pantone Colours

Each Pantone colour is allocated a number, such as “PMS 130”. PMS colours are almost always used in branding, and even military standards and government legislation have begun to use PMS colours. In 2003 a petition was debate within Scottish Parliament with regards to the potential official referral of the blue in the Scottish flag as “Pantone 300”. A number of other countries, including Canada, South Korea, and the USA state of Texas have also chosen to refer to specific Pantone colours in the production of their national/state flags.

Pantone Colour of the Year


Since the year 2000, Pantone have announced a ‘colour of the year’ each year. The announcement typically comes in mid to late December for the following year’s colour; and it tends to unleash an array of announcements from designers and retailers, shortly after, revealing their own products and designs in the new colours.

In December 2015, Pantone held their annual conference, and for the first time in 16 years they announced not one, but two colours of the year: Rose Quartz, and Serenity.

Rose Quartz is a delicate baby pink shade, and Serenity is a soft, pale blue. The two colours work together perfectly to create a calming and relaxing effect. Speaking about this year’s dual colour choice, Pantone’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman, said:

“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 colour 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.”


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