Pantone Color of the Year 2016 (Colors, actually!)

Ah yes, that highly anticipated announcement creative types the world over have waited anxiously for; the Pantone Color of the Year 2016. Pantone you have done it again, you have managed to disappoint me for the 5th consecutive year. HUZZAH!!!!!!!!!! Well, let me retract that statement and partially re-write: You’ve almost managed to completely disappoint me for the 5th consecutive year. Alright, perhaps i’m not actually disappointed, merely underwhelmed.

The design world was completely a flutter last week as evidenced through the profusion of tweets, Facebook posts, blog entries, instagram lifestyle shots and i’m sure even a few Google+ cricket chirps had something to say about it.  Not only did Pantone release its anticipated color selection for 2016, the much beloved “Color Authority” decided to also drop a  2 color bombshell. Never mind that the color choices were  2 years too late, I mean….weren’t pastels the “it” thing for festival going 20-somethings a couple of years back? But, EGADS! 2 colors of the year? RELEASE THE HOUNDS!!!!!

Or rather, lets take the emotional temperature down a few notches and instead gently usher in the birth of two cherubic, cosmic pastel children to the commune. These color children shall be named Rose Quartz and Serenity. Ah yes, take a nice deep breath of the incense that wafts through the air, and listen, for someone somewhere, is ringing a crystal bell as the star babies are annointed with organic oils.


As a graphic designer and product of my technology riddled generation, i’ve been around the social media block a few times. In my humble option, I fail to comprehend  how their color choices are “fresh”  and “fashion forward”. I’m quite certain that I have seen a photo filter very similar to this on at least 75 of the 10000 photo editing apps on my phone. However, I do see and feel the implicitly calming, psychological effects of these hues. No contest there, after all is the selection not evocative of a  misty sunset in desert?



Where Pantone manages to lose me is on the topic of gender. I certainly don’t understand the logic behind “Rose Quartz” and “Serenity” being an innovative blurring of the precarious lines of gender roles. Excuse me, Pantone? Yes, hello….just wanted to say that last time I checked, rose quartz was PINK and serenity was BLUE. Dusty Rose and Periwinkle, to be a bit more precise. You didn’t blur any gender lines, you simply left your pink and blue toys out in the sun to fade. Perhaps Pantone is inviting us to take a slightly abstract approach, perhaps it is the actual blending  of the Rose Quartz and Serenity that is intended to illicit the commingled fluidity of gender.

Whatever the thought process was behind the decision, at the end of the day Rose Quartz and Serenity are lovely colors. There is something innately retro about the palette in a nostalgic pastel 80s luxury sort of way. I can envision myself drinking high tea in 1985 with a sassy grandma  on a beachfront cafe somewhere in miami. (Eat your heart out, Patrick Nagel)

Thank you Pantone, for being the omnipotent force which lords over us all, and for not failing to deliver another divisive color of the year. Double thanks for the double scoop you have bestowed upon your loyal legions. As usual, I look forward to seeing how creatives around the world apply this subdued palette  to their lives and i’m already looking forward to the 2017 color of the year. If it’s a metallic shade i’m sure stars will collide and I expect much adulation of my soothsaying abilities.

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