Every December since 2000, Pantone has picked a “color of the year”. The colors are often significant in the meanings that Pantone assigns them and the context in which they are chosen. For example, 2016 was the first year Pantone chose two Colors of the Year: rose quartz (a pinkish hue) and serenity (a pastel blue). The pairing of these colours symbolized tranquility and challenged traditional notions of gender and colour. For 2017, Pantone made a bold statement by choosing a yellow-toned green called Greenery. In an age of political turmoil, this choice was an intentional call to action regarding the environment and sustainability.
Pantone described Greenery by saying:
Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world. This shift is reflected by the proliferation of all things expressive of Greenery in daily lives through urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally. A constant on the periphery, Greenery is now being pulled to the forefront – it is an omnipresent hue around the world.
Pantone’s careful annual choice of the color year proves how important color is and how meaningful its use can be. The choice is the result of careful deliberation over two meetings and it is published in Pantone View which costs $750. This publication is referred to by florists, interior designers, fashion moguls, and makeup creators as inspiration for the years’ trends. In these cases, the Pantone Color of the Year saturates our surroundings and it’s glaringly obvious. Usually, though, the color also appears in graphic design. This is a lot more subtle than its appearance in other creative industries and might be more difficult to pick up on.
Graphic design can be a great place to apply trends which may not have staying power. Doing a quick colour update on a design or logo shows that you’re aware of trends and how important the use of color is. When incorporating the Pantone Color of the Year, you might also communicate that your brand supports its political message. Because small designs are relatively easy to change, you might consider incorporating the Color of the Year in a logo or something similar.
The Color of the Year can also inspire a change or update within your brand. For example, with the selection of Greenery, you might consider using recyclable materials to build your product or encourage sustainability with your brand. Updating your logo or creating a post with Greenery woven throughout would be an effective way of communicating these admirable changes to your consumers.
When looking to Pantone for inspiration, remember you don’t have to use the exact shade chosen. The colour is indicative of a larger trend. Greens are very versatile and communicative — they can be energetic and exciting or serene and calm, depending on the tones and brightness. As such, greens work well as the focus color or as an accent.
If you’re committed to using Greenery but you’re not sure how, Pantone has created a useful guide to color palettes featuring Greenery. These palettes not only demonstrate how to match and use these colours together, but what they express.
If you lack inspiration for graphic design, consider looking to Pantone’s influence in other creative industries. Graphic design is the perfect place to use these trends; try playing around with potential logos using a tool like Logojoy or adding hints of the Color of the Year to your brand’s content. Greenery perfectly represents its own power: the ability to refresh.