Every year in December, Pantone announces a Color of the Year after a lot of careful consideration.
The announcement gets a lot of media coverage, experts in the art world give their two cents about the color and how you can use it, and just about everyone comes up with different ways to use the color in their businesses or homes.
But why is a color so important, and how can you incorporate it into your business?
In this article, we explain why Pantone came about, how the Pantone color of the year is chosen, and how you can successfully use it in your business. Here’s what’s covered:
- What is the Pantone color matching system?
- What is the Pantone Color of the Year?
- 4 ways to incorporate the color of the year into your business
What is the Pantone color matching system?
Earlier, printing services used their own color guide. They created their version of a color and printed each color differently depending on how they interpreted it.
This is where Pantone’s color matching system came in. The tool organized color standards through a proprietary numbering system and chip format to match colors and identify them quickly.
It was introduced by the Pantone Color Institute to standardize colors so brands could have color consistency across all their designs and marketing materials.
What is the Pantone Color of the Year?
Every year, the Pantone Color Institute’s committee of analysts looks through various industries and all aspects of society — fashion, social media, and even politics — to recognize a trendsetting color for the upcoming year.
The institute announced the first Color of the Year, Cerulean Blue, in 2000. At the time, the Pantone Institute chose that color to reflect inner peace and spiritual fulfillment with the coming millennia. It also had enough data to prove that most designers chose blue as their leading color.
Since the start of this initiative, Pantone has cemented itself as the expert for all things color-related.
Nowadays, Pantone also offers a wide array of color combination palettes with the Color of the Year in mind so brands can create new and trending products.
This year’s color, Very Peri, is a mixture of periwinkle blue and a red undertone. The mix of blue and red highlights the fact that our physical and digital worlds merged after the pandemic.
The Pantone Color of the Year for 2023 is Viva Magenta. According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute, Viva Magenta was chosen as the color of the year for 2023 because:
“In this age of technology, we look to draw inspiration from nature and what is real. PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta descends from the red family, and is inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the most precious dyes belonging to the natural dye family as well as one of the strongest and brightest the world has known.
Rooted in the primordial, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta reconnects us to original matter. Invoking the forces of nature, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta galvanizes our spirit, helping us to build our inner strength.”
Reds generally indicate excitement and vigor. So, the upcoming year’s color is well-suited for brands that want to stand out and make a statement.
4 ways to incorporate the color of the year into your business
The Pantone color of the year is intended to be used for consumer products and creatives. However, this doesn’t mean you have to rebrand your product and change its logo or colors to keep up with the change.
You simply have to find creative ways to incorporate the color into your advertisements, social media posts, or new range of products to get more brand exposure.
For inspiration, check out these few brands that have successfully used Pantone colors in their business.
1. Launch a new collection
You can use Pantone’s color of the year to launch a new line of products that amplify the message the color stands for to get more eyeballs on your collection and boost sales.
Motorola has collaborated with Pantone to launch its newest Edge 30 Fusion smartphone in the Viva Magenta color.
Since the color stands for inner strength and excitement, the brand aims to attract more users who want to showcase their passion and stand out.
TIPTOE, a French furniture-making brand collaborated with Pantone in 2021 to launch a new collection of table legs which allowed users to create unique pieces of furniture with new or pre-owned surfaces.
2021’s colors, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, stood for strength and hopefulness, and the brand wanted to promote the same message for the planet’s future through the sustainable use of furniture.
In 2020, LG VDL, a global cosmetics brand, partnered with Pantone to introduce the new VDL + Pantone Classic Blue collection to highlight its long-standing image of catering to women who pursue their dreams and desires.
2. Showcase social responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) refers to the concept that a business should seek to benefit the broader community in which it exists apart from creating value for shareholders.
While this idea has been around for many decades, its importance has multiplied as consumers have become more conscious of climate change, wage gaps, unfair labor practices, etc.
49% of Americans believe that it’s essential for the company to make the world a better place than earning money for its shareholders, according to a CSR report from Aflac Inc.
The same report also states that 77% of consumers will buy from a company committed to improving the world.
That means highlighting how you’re giving back to the community will help you build a positive brand reputation, a better business reputation, and lead to increased sales and customer loyalty.
And the best way to raise more awareness about the cause you’re promoting is to collaborate with Pantone to create products using their color palette.
Love your Melon is an apparel brand dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer. They collaborated with Pantone in 2021 and decided to give 50% of the net profit from their Pantone hats’ sales to research, therapeutic experiences, and family support of children with cancer.
Lokai, a New York-based jewelry brand, partnered with Pantone to release bracelets in Classic Blue, the color of the year for 2020.
Since the brand wanted to highlight being a stable and reliable foundation, it released a blue bracelet collection and donated $1 from each sale to fund fine arts education for children in underserved communities.
3. Link your brand to the color
If you can’t launch a collection or set up a fundraiser, you can still post about the color on social media to create a buzz around your brand in the following ways:
- Feature all your products in the Pantone color.
- Start a conversation around the color.
Dezeen, a popular and influential art magazine, has put together a list of 10 interiors with Pantone’s Viva Magenta to keep their community informed of the latest trend.
Even Ukraine jumped on the trend to tell the world how the color reflects the fighting spirit by sharing a picture of a famous native dish.
Denver Botanic Gardens listed the flowers with a similar hue to encourage people to learn more about their work and visit their gardens.
4. Include the color in your marketing communications
Introducing the Pantone color in your marketing communications helps create a positive association with your brand and improve your brand awareness.
Scalelogo, a logo creation agency, used Ultra Violet, the Pantone color of the year 2018, on their website.
Since Ultra Violet stood for counterculture and unconventionality, the brand could communicate the fact that they were more efficient than conventional logo generators and larger agencies.
NJI Media, a design agency, used Very Peri, Pantone Color of the Year 2022, in their typography design to show their excitement about incorporating the hue into different projects.
The Pantone Color of the Year is chosen carefully after analyzing trends in fashion, movies, and even politics.
Every color has a strong message, and incorporating it into your products and creatives ensures improved brand exposure and, ultimately increased sales.
There are many different ways to include the Color of the Year in your branding but the most common ways include linking your brand to the color, promoting a cause, launching a new collection, and including the color in your marketing communications.
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