PANTONE announced their “Color of the Year 2016" last week (COTY) and surprise- it’s a blend of two colors. Interesting that they picked a combo of two colors.... and as I read it they mean them to be used together- yen/yang- gender neutral. Will this be their new norm, or is it a nod to offset what some have felt were arguably feminine colors from the past few years... or an homage to social progress?
If you know me, my work and my clientele, you’ll know I don’t follow trends. I’m definitely aware of them, but more often than not I’m a trendsetter, or according to houzz.com an influencer… perhaps more accurate since I am usually two- three years ahead of the curve.
Now this can be good or annoying depending on the particular trends in power keeping the masses enthralled at any given moment due to the available materials, goods and merchandise.
My clients don’t follow trends either. Many are VPs and executives in various industries, CEO’s and founders of their own companies, several are specialists at one thing or another at the top of their fields. Many are very private, some even reclusive, and all of them are interested in expressing their own individuality and creating the rules instead of playing by them. SO… what exactly is this post about? It’s all about commerce, the heart of what Pantone is really all about, just as reported in The Wall Street Journal piece "Why Pantone released two colors of the year".
I've been fascinated by Pantone’s color predictions and selections since college. I also love the effect of words on different individuals. So despite Pantone’s emphatic claims that it’s not baby pink and little boy blue, most people see it as so. You can call any color whatever you want, but it’s what the beholder sees that is the reality. It’s also pastel…1980's Miami Vice Crockett and Tubs Pastel…
Despite Pantone's statements it’s not anything new for men to wear pink in the mainstream either. Ralph Lauren had wildly popular Polo shirts in pink with blue stripes and vice versa in 1980, and preppy regimental stripes and rampant lion ties to boot. And according to some historians pink was for boys and blue for girls in the early 1900's So that gender neutral thing is a crock too. It’s just savvy marketing to capitalize on dramatically changing social acceptance.
Pantone has always claimed that color is representative of a cultures attitude and overall state over time, and rightly so. Take a look back over the last 50 years and see how spot on this claim really is. Of course hindsight is what it is, and actually predicting how a color will fare is not a science. Take 2015’s COTY Marsala and it’s miserable welcome from most everyone in the design world, especially interior designers.
Images above via Crossville Tile
Cross Color Mingles Porcelain Stone
Mica, Rosewood, Atlantic Grey
Interestingly COTY 2016 likely ushers in a period of dusty pastels that promises to last the next decade. If you review COTY back to 2007 you will see a definite pattern of bright saturated hues, then Marsala in 2015… a color that goes with everything before it, and I suspect everything after, signaling the subconscious need to redecorate… perhaps slowly integrating a new color each year, or a full fledged redesign. Check out also 2000- 2006 where Sand Dollar was the transitional color.
I’m not going to go out on a limb and formally claim last years choice Marsala was an intentional lead in to this years color(s) but it if I were trying to give the public a nudge to change that’s how I would do it. Commerce baby… and for me it’s all good fun to read all the posts on how to incorporate the COTY into your home, and watching the products filter out… but my clientele doesn’t give a damn about Pantone’s Color of the Year… and aside from from the study of human nature and marketing, I don’t either. Good design is about what you love and what brings joy and function into your life.
I say it’s good fun indeed… I predicted in my #watchlist2015 that classic suiting patterns such as herringbione, pin-stripe, houndstooth, and Glen plaid would be huge in fabric and wallpaper, and by end of year would segue from greys, navy, black and brown into pastels… watch for it...I am confident I'm on target here, not that it's particularly important... though I do enjoy being right!
But then again….the dusty pastel hues of Rose Quartz and Serenity are a wonderful introduction to my “Texas Hill Country Trail Paint Color Palette™” I plan to premier this Spring…