Every year, the world awaits the Pantone “color of the year” announcement, despite it actually affecting zero percent of our lives. Ever since I’ve been in design, I’ve scratched my head not knowing WHY they chose what they did and rarely thinking it will work in interiors. BUT like most things controversial, I enjoy the discourse around it. As a recap, here are the colors of the last 10 years.
If you are thinking “I don’t get it,” you aren’t alone. Those particular tones are shocking and random, but if they chose something so on the nose (millennial pink 3 years ago, dark green last year, etc) we’d all probably roll our collective eyes.
All of the controversies aside, our burning question is: HOW do they choose the color of the year??
Well, I did what any private investigator would do and Googled that question, and read exactly one article from the Miami Herald on it, here. The gist is that it’s a general trend for-casting, zeitgeist thing that doesn’t necessarily have to do with interiors specifically, but more an answer to what’s happening in the world (design-wise but also life-wise).
For “Classic Blue,” this year’s color, here is the reason they chose it:
“The Pantone Color Institute said it recognized similar feelings of instability gripping the world today, from the United States to the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Syria and across the globe. It settled on a shade that offers the reassurance, confidence and connection that people may be searching for in an uncertain global milieu.”
We love assigning feelings to colors for sure, and nobody can attest to the reassurance, confidence and serenity that blue brings to my house and life more than me… Exhibit A:
So we thought we’d poll the designers and editors in the EHD office, and see how we feel about “Classic Blue” having its year in the spotlight.
Emily (me): “I usually can’t wait to kind of be shocked by the color, and my reaction has historically not been ‘oh that makes sense.’ I think that’s because traditionally, these colors don’t translate as well into designing the home as they do into art and fashion. For things, spaces and mediums that are more temporary, risk is more welcome and thus they shift more often. Sure, I like tones of purple a lot right now in the home, but not Ultraviolet (last year’s color of the year). And yes, we are VERY into green over here, but not necessarily Greenery (2017 color of the year). They don’t seem as pigmented and full of nuance as the colors that we usually like.
But Classic Blue, while perhaps a bit more primary than I usually opt for, is indeed a color that we can use, or at least a very close shade. I’m not opposed to cobalt right now and shove that shade a bit darker and it’s a great navy that I love. All in all, I’m not NOT into it. I’m pleasantly surprised that I do indeed like it and will try to experiment with it this year. Below, for example, I think it is used well.”
Julie: “Blue has and always will be a crowd-pleaser and while this particular shade of blue is much brighter I am a fan of it in small doses for interiors. I can’t say for sure that I would put it on my body but I thought the same of Ultra Violet last year and then the other day I caught myself almost ‘adding to cart’ &Other Stories new color block sweater…so only time will tell.”
Velinda: “Color of the year, brought to you by Papa Smurf.”
Arlyn: “Okay, while a far cry from International Klein Blue, i.e. my favorite color on earth, it’s closer, and that makes me happy. Blue is always ‘safe’ especially this particular shade so I agree with Emily that I wish it were a bit more daring in terms of using it in design. I get the more “worldly” zeitgeist leanings of the COTY choice, too, and I mean, I guess I get it.”
Jess: “I’m pretty underwhelmed. It’s not bad but I’m bored. But then again almost anything can be cool if it’s in the hands of the right designer. I prefer the electricity of say a cobalt which is super close to Classic Blue but better and cooler. Maybe next year, Pantone.”
Ryann: “I might be the only person who is neither shocked or disappointed with Pantone’s decision to declare Classic Blue the reigning color in the year 2020. Maybe this is because historically I have never paid attention to Pantone’s color of the year so my expectations were extremely low. Look, I like blue and I especially like a bold color moment in the home (see photo below) and in fashion, it can be really fun and exciting to see bright colors played around with. I am not running out and painting my walls Classic Blue but the color does make me happy and I wouldn’t object to a classic blue lamp or art piece in my home. I am just happy it’s not maroon or magenta because those are the two worst colors (sorry I don’t make the rules).”
Despite some of our feelings about this year’s chosen hue, if you brighten it and put it in a luxe fabric like Arlyn did in her living room Makeover Takeover then I think everyone can get on serious board. As Arlyn beautifully put it in a Slack message this morning, “Blue can both be safe and bold.”
Okay now it’s your turn. How do you all feel about Classic Blue reigning in this new decade? Are you someone who lives by the Pantone rule or are you as underwhelmed as most of the staff? Let’s chat folks.