Painting Pantone

2014 has barely bid us goodbye, yet talks of 2015 trends have sprung alive. And no surprise, Pantone — American based provider of universal colour systems — have named their colour of the year: Marsala.

“A naturally robust, earthy wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, bodies and soul” – cr:

Last year, Pantone had “Radiant Orchid” — a curious blend of purple and pink — as colour of the year, and the year before, the ever-green “Emerald” rose as their choice (no pun intended).

50 Shades of Emerald – cr: Pantone

Many (including me) wonder: what is the significance behind Pantone’s choices? What is Pantone? What makes Pantone so important?

Fret not, us Bocconi Students for Fashion, shall answer these questions for you (or at least try our best) ala bite size pieces.

1. What is Pantone? 

Pantone swatches (cr: Bryan Thomas, New York Times)

Founded in 1960s America, Pantone began as a commercial printing company, which under the helm of Lawrence Herbert, became a creator of unified colour system. Soon, Pantone rose as one of the most important companies in the world. From food to fashion, almost anything colour-related has Pantone across it — and yes, this includes your lip and nail colour.

2. Why Pantone matters?

The Pantone Colour Matching System (CMS) is undoubtedly one of the most important creations in the world. Without it, it would be difficult for designers across industries to communicate with one another.

But which red are you talking about?
But which red are you talking about?

For example, if a fashion house wants to purchase a certain amount of fabric in red, it is important for the mill to know which shade of red the buyer wishes to purchase. Red for the mill may not be the red the buyer wants. This is where the Pantone CMS comes into action.

3. How does Pantone decide on the Colour of the Year?

The Pantone team travels to observe the colours that appear a lot, and no surprises, the team tend to gather information from London, Paris, and Milan, which are major fashion capitals. Clearly, fashion has a huge impact on the colours that are going onto their hot list. Yet, executive director of Pantone Colour Institute, Leatrice Elseman, claims that other industries, such as food and automobile industry, affects their choice as well. (Click here to watch how Pantone arrives to Marsala as colour of the year)

It’s a Marsala World out there – cr: Pantone

4. Pantone and fashion

 Colours do more than just deliver an aesthetic value. Colours communicate meaning, and has an impact on the human psyche. Often, we hear that blue is sedative, green is calming and black conveys mystery. Indeed, studies have shown that colour does affect our moods and even our purchasing behavior.. In the fashion industry, colour sells, and the right colour sells better. Consumer preference research suggests that colour factors 86% of male clothes purchase decisions!

We hope this post has helped you answer the hows and whys of Pantone and the world of colour. To end it, here is a fun infographic:

Can you guess which colours define the 90s and the years to come? 😉 Leave a comment below!


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