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Why Pantone's Color of the Year is Important

Posted by Chelsea Chafin - webmaster on 12/14/2016

Why is the Pantone Color of the Year important? For almost two decades, Pantone has come out with a specific color each year that is, for all intents and purposes, brand new. By brand new, it is meant to be a color that has normally received little to no attention that will now branch out and be largely popular. So, as designers turned screen printers, why should this matter to you if you can already make the color? Maybe some would even go as far as to quote Shakespeare, “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” True that, Juliet. Similarly, 2016 artists may have pondered if a Rose Quartz (and Serenity) would have made it to Apple had it not been color of the year.

But that’s exactly it! Yes, you can create a unique color and leave it at that, maybe even name it yourself and hope it gets out there, but the yearly meeting at Pantone can end up turning your color into a million-dollar idea, especially in regards to the teams who have been selected to promote said color. These colors are selected based on anything from what is going on within social media to what is going on globally. This became especially true for 2017’s choice of Greenery, a color which is dedicated to climate change and nature itself.

Pantone's Color of the Year 2017: Greenery.

Pertaining to art and creation, creating new ink colors is already something that many designers are interested in doing (especially by mixing together different shades). When doing so, by simply adding the extra step of preparing ways to present them later proves to be extremely useful.

Essentially, understanding the logic behind Pantone’s color choice can have a major influence on your work. For instance, there may be one specific overall color chosen for the year, but Pantone releases a list of colors that they believe will be most popular based on region. What this means for designers is that you may use one color for your design sold in North America, but if you have stores or shipments overseas, say in Italy, you may end up choosing a different ink for that area knowing that the design will sell better with a slight change.

The colors nominated are aimed at your audience, which should not be misconstrued to be directed towards your own personal artwork. You aren’t changing colors of your work to please mass corporations, you are doing it based on research that individualized people and/or the majority have a strong opinion on the reason behind the color was chosen. Basing colors on strong opinionated issues results in consumers purchasing items based on the feelings that the colors have been found to ensue.

We all understand that color is a large part of the design process. It may seem risky to change such a significant portion of the piece based on research done by a third party, but that is also why it is important for you as the designer to be involved in how and why it is chosen. Understanding your audience should already be on your radar as a business owner, so keying in on certain colors is a small task that will earn big results.

Fortunately, when it comes to getting the correct ink, Texsource offers PMS matching, as do many of the brands carried. Please note that there are many ways to mix different shades of the main color to produce varying shades. For instance, as mentioned above, 2017’s choice is Greenery, yet Thrive, a more yellow version of the green color, is projected to do better in North America. The theme stays the same, meaning the emotions attached will as well, but in a way that targets exact areas making it seem more personalized. You as the artist will always have the choice to make decisions like this depending on where you sell and what sells best. The Pantone Color of the Year is there to be used as a marketing tool, and a well-researched one at that.

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