Tag: color theory

Pantone Color of the Year for 2017: Greenery

pantone-2017The Pantone Color of the Year for 2017 is Greenery, specifically 15-0343. Pantone says of this year’s pick, “A counterpoint to the dark malaise caused by the murky political climate around the world. Greenery burst forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape.”

Good grief, that’s a helluva lot of expectation to put on one color that is basically Kermit eating at Shake Shack. In fact, I think I’d rather focus on that spunky frog enjoying a delicious burger and fries at my favorite addictive eatery than think of what else this particular color can symbolize. I mean, if Pantone is referencing the current politics in America, I think there might be a better color than one associated with money and swamps.

Pantone was founded in New York and is now headquartered in New Jersey but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt about their global inspiration since their colors truly are the standard for color matching around the world. And actually, Greenery is a nice sort of bright neutral and much better than 2016’s Colors of the Year: baby pink and blue (excuse me, Rose Quartz and Serenity) for example. That particularly twee combination made every designer I know just shake their damn heads.

rose-quartz-and-serenityNot to mention the previous year’s color “Marsala” which reminded me forcefully of Friar Tuck’s bandage needing to be changed. Talk about a dark malaise.


But like a train that shows no sign of slowing however many rational arguments and marches are made against it, here we are with this Greenery. It may be already overused but I have to admit it looks fabulous in people’s yards if they have the money to pay for water, and is a staple in packaging, fashion, and home decor. Pantone also says it’s “trans-seasonal” and anything with the word trans in it is fine in my book so let’s pour a tall glass of green river and toast Greenery, Color of the Year 2017. And to help a bit with that murky political climate, let’s add a little absinthe in there as well. Also green.

For more from Pantone about this year's pick go here

-Barbara Combs

2014 Pantone Color of the year: Not-so-Radiant Orchid


Color of the Year for 2014 is Radiant Orchid, specifically Pantone 18-3224 for those of you who love to be exact about such things. And thank god for it as last year’s color was Emerald which was actually too depressing to even blog about. Pantone announced this year's pick as “vibrant, captivating—and suddenly everywhere. With a harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health.”

Awesome! The only problem is, on closer inspection Radiant Orchid ain’t really all that radiant. In fact, it's pretty damned mauve. Exhibit A:


So we’ll embrace the orchid radiance only after we toss in a few real fuchsias, purples and pinks. Check it out.


You should visit the fab sites where we grabbed some of the crazy cool stuff above: weddingomania.comstartclosein.blogspot.com, and fieldstonehilldesign.com

Prisoners in Pink: The Influence of Color on Behavior

Reprise of a post on one of our favorite subjects

Smart marketers know that color has a strong effect on emotional response. Specific colors have the ability to raise our blood pressure beyond our conscious control, increase our pulse rate, breathing and adrenaline—or to calm us down, pacify us.

Color psychologists cite an increasing number of studies linking colors to specific responses. One study found that weight lifters have more powerful performances in blue rooms, and another found that babies cry more frequently in yellow rooms. Packaging and signage in reds and orange can stimulate appetite and seem to markedly increase impulse purchases.

And pink is a lot more than the major component of the Barbie aisle at Toys R Us.

In the late 1970’s, Dr. Alexander Schauss, Ph.D., director of the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Puyallup WA, was the first to report the suppression of angry, antagonistic, and anxiety-ridden behavior among prisoners using a surprising color solution:

"Even if a person tries to be angry or aggressive in the presence of pink, he can't.” Dr. Schauss reported. “The heart muscles can’t race fast enough. It’s a tranquilizing color that saps your energy. Even the color-blind are tranquilized by pink rooms.”

Many institutions have since taken paint brush in hand based on this study.

In Buffalo, Missouri in 2006, Sheriff Mike Rackley had the Dallas County Detention Center repainted a soft shade of pink (roughly equivalent to R255 G145 B175 and known as Baker-Miller Pink or more familiarly, "Drunk Tank Pink") in an effort to better manage sometimes volatile detainees. Rackley said he decided to update the look as part of extensive repairs necessary after inmates set a fire and vandalized the interior in an escape attempt earlier in the year.

Inmates at Miami County Jail in Troy, Ohio were ordered to paint their cell blocks the same shade of pink in February of 2008 after Sheriff Charles Cox decided the color would have a calming effect.

County jails in Arizona, Tennessee and Texas have had similar makeovers….but does it work?

According to the sheriff at the Mason County Jail, who repainted with pink in 2005, his county's re-offense rate decreased by 70 percent… a fairly staggering success.

But even prisons have to redecorate at some point—apparently the “pink effect” doesn’t last.

"In spite of these powerful effects, there is substantial evidence that these reactions are short term. Once the body returns to a state of equilibrium, a prisoner may regress to an even more agitated state."1

In one instance, after several years of living in the pink, the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department abandoned the color for institutional gray. Jail officials there said the pink hue no longer had a discernible effect on prisoners—but really annoyed the jail staff.

—Barbara Combs

1. Morton Walker, The Power of Color 1991

Color of the year for 2010. Not just for roadside jewelry stands anymore.


Turquoise, specifically Pantone® 15-5519, has been crowned Color of the Year for 2010. If it makes you feel like slipping on your sarong and sipping a Coconut Willie by the pool…well, then you are a very strange young man. But on trend, apparently.

Pantone, the global authority on color and color standards for the design industry, says that Turquoise (which they inexplicably capitalize every time they mention it) “evokes thoughts of soothing tropical waters and a languorous, effective escape from the everyday troubles of the world, while at the same time restoring our sense of well-being.” It’s also the color of a ’55 Ford Station Wagon I once had that was actually the cause of many of my everyday  troubles but we’ll let that pass. Continue reading "Color of the year for 2010. Not just for roadside jewelry stands anymore."