Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

How is the Pantone "Color of the Year" Chosen?

I was just reading Miss Mustard Seed's post today about the Pantone color of the year (it's Marsala!), and I was wondering just who Pantone is and how they go about deciding what color is going to be "the" color of the year....So, I did a little research.  

Who is Pantone?

It is a corporation located in New Jersey.  They are best known for their Pantone Matching System (PMS) (I got a laugh out of that acronym!), a proprietary color space used mostly in the printing industry, but sometimes used in other industries as well, to include fabrics, plastics and paints.  Okay, so they are color experts, of sorts...This PMS is a standardized color matching system, so that colors can be more easily and accurately reproduced without having actual color chips side-by-side. Beyond this, the color matching story gets complicated, and not something that I want to delve into at great depth, but if you want to know more about them, follow this link.  http://www.pantone.com/pages/pantone.aspx?pg=19306

How Do They Go About Declaring A Color of the Year?

I found this part of the story quite interesting.  Pantone doesn't actually choose the color of the year, but they host a meeting twice annually where "color standards groups" pick the color...These secret meetings are held in a European capital city where these people arrive from all over the world to present their individual choices for the next color of the year, and tell why they would choose the color, and then they debate the choices over the next two days.  The colors are chosen approximately a year in advance to give the industries time to implement the color in their designs.

The colors chosen are allegedly connected to Zeitgeist (the spirit of the age or the spirit of the time).  The German word Zeitgeist is most often attributed to philosopher Georg Hegel, who believe that art is a reflection of the culture of the time in which is was created.  This seems to make sense to me.  As an example, the press release that accompanied the color of 2011 (Honeysuckle) stated "In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going- perfect to ward off the blues."  I guess I would agree that 2011 was a depressing year, with a failing world economy and a war that seemed like it would never end.  I can agree that Honeysuckle is a happy color...

Image via Pantone

The chosen color is reported in The Pantone View  (subscriptions available by clicking on the link) and keeps designers all over the world engaged, watching to get the latest color news so that they will know what direction to take when planning and designing their future goods.  Wow! Who knew?

In reference to the new 2015 color choice, Marsala, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute stated, "Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability.  Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.  This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors."  So, this signifies that world affairs are settling down a bit and we're at a point where we feel confident, safe, and grounded once again?  

Image via Pantone

To read more about the color choice and colors that will pair well with it, follow the link to the Pantone website.  http://blog.pantone.com/2014/12/pantone-reveals-color-year-2015-pantone-18-1438-marsala/

About that Marsala- Do you think you will possibly use it in your home?   Or in your fashion choices or make-up?  I personally don't care for something this dark in my home, especially when I've just worked really hard at getting lighter colors in place!  I can see it maybe in my wardrobe in small doses.  I think as far as home decor goes, I tend to decorate around really colorful inspiration pieces as jumping off places and that usually allows me all the latitude I need to feel like I have enough color options for coordinating pieces.  I can usually find pieces that will work, and if they don't, well, there's always paint and fabric stores with fabrics from last year, and the year before.  If you've been reading my blog, and following along with my decorating projects, you know that I'm sort of a Gypsy with my decorating styles and art, so I really don't see this "Color of the Year" thing really impacting me much at all...But, at least, now I know what it's all about.


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  1. That was very interesting! I too have often wondered who/what Pantone was and the process that was used to choose "the" color of the year. Thanks for the info!


    1. I'm glad I posted something that you found helpful, Debbie. Thanks for reading and leaving the nice comment!