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  • Writer's pictureJill Pilaroscia, IACC - NA, ISCC

Is One Color Enough? Property Owners Must Look Beyond Color of the Year.

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Each December a color is crowned “Color of the Year,” with Pantone earning distinction as the dominant forecaster. Pantone’s broad reach across multiple industries – from home furnishings, fashion and beauty to graphics, packaging and product design – gives the New Jersey-based company an enviable scale of influence in a global retail market eager for a competitive edge. In 2000, in a maneuver of considerable marketing savvy, they launched their Color of the Year campaign. While others, in particular paint manufacturers, have joined in offering their own predictions, Pantone remains the definitive authority.

As a color practitioner who believes we use many personal filters to evaluate color, my question is this: Is it truly possible to declare that only one hue should lead the future of color selection? Should we instead entertain the idea of a polychrome future as beautiful and dynamic as the world we live in? For properties —whether private residences or commercial buildings – where color choices span many years rather than a single retail cycle, we argue that this is a must.

Pantone states that their color selection is filtered through the lens of color psychology and color associations cross culturally — and indeed, a couple of years (2016 and 2021) they have tapped a color duo. What is mystifying is the range of the paint color predictions in a given year, which frequently have contradicted one another. We’ve seen one manufacturer offering a saturated, warm terra cotta being challenged by a competitor offering a cool green in the same time period. But lest the discriminating consumer be left to decipher which predictive color to covet for the calendar year, lifestyle commentators and expensive advertising campaigns work to enhance our confidence about which hue is best!!

Here is a brief history of Pantone's shifting affinities:

For 2022, Pantone has anointed Very Peri, a warm, red-toned blue suggesting “courageous creativity and imaginative expression“ in a changing world. Here’s to that! But how much more expansive and liberating to have a palette expressing these values.

Here are three palettes we've created in 2021. These palettes have a balanced amount of warm to cool and light to dark colors, allowing these colors work together harmoniously.

Research has shown that color has the potential to shape behaviors and influence experiences. Let us all hope that broad exposure and application of color in 2022 can have positive and profound impact on the many challenges facing our planet politically and environmentally. We do not believe that one single hue should dominate all industries to reflect the collective unconscious.

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