Every year the folks over at Pantone announce their colour of the year, with their choice often proving influential across various industries ranging from interior design, fashion, graphic design and branding. A lot of thought goes into choosing the Pantone colour of the year, with their team analysing global trends across a variety of sources from artists, designers, movies and even popular travel destinations.

The Pantone colour of the year can be particularly inspiring for new companies trying to establish their brand colours and existing companies undergoing a rebranding process, in both of these circumstances we highly recommend utilising Pantone matched promotional merchandise to bolster and promote your brand. If you are creating a new brand or undergoing a rebranding process but haven’t yet chosen your brand colours, read on for some colourful inspiration where we’ve listed the previous Pantone colours of the year for the past decade, reveal what 2021s Pantone colour of year is and touch upon the importance of the psychology of colour.

What were Pantone’s colours of the year for 2010-2019?

Pantone have been naming their colour of the year for 20 years now, with each being unique and distinctive. 2016 marks the only year to date where they couldn’t decide on one colour and hence this year actually features two colours of the year. The previous Pantone colours of the year for the past decade include:

  • 2019 Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral
  • 2018 Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet
  • 2017 Pantone 15-0343 Greenery
  • 2016 Pantone 13-1520 Rose Quartz & 15-3919 Serenity
  • 2015 Pantone 18-1438 Marsala
  • 2014 Pantone 18-3224 Radiant Orchid
  • 2013 Pantone 17-5641 Emerald
  • 2012 Pantone 17-1463 Tangerine Tango
  • 2011 Pantone 18-2120 Honeysuckle
  • 2010 Pantone 15-5519 Turquoise

what is pantone's color of the year

You can find all the colours of the year for the past 20 years here.

What was Pantone’s colour of the year for 2020?

The Pantone colour of the year for 2020 was PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue. This colour was chosen for its ability to instill a sense of “calm, confidence, and connection”. 2020 took us into a new decade at a time of significant global uncertainty. This colour represented a desire for less turbulent times and greater stability.

What is Pantone’s colour of the year for 2021?

For the second time, Pantone has two colours of the year. This time, they see those two colours working together as one. These colours are PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating. Pantone describes them as “two independent colours that highlight how different elements come together to support one another” expressing a necessary mood and reality of 2021. Other words used to describe this combination of colours are friendly, sunny, thoughtful, warming and optimistic. Leatrice Eisman, who is the Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute said, “the combination of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is aspirational and gives us hope. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit.” A fitting colour combination and message for 2021.

Can a colour really do all that?

We will let you make up your mind as to how 2021s colour of the year resonates with you but we think the thought behind this years choice is by far the most meaningful to date. Whilst our experiences of colour is in part individual, there is theory and research behind how colours make us think, feel and the emotions we associate with them. For example, the colour green is often used to promote environmental or eco-friendly products with the colour being associated with nature and positivity. Colour is particularly important to brands and is used to portray their desired image to an audience. For example Coca Cola, which was founded in 1892, uses red to keep their brand looking fresh and bold.  Considerably younger brands such as Netflix or Youtube also utilise red. The chart below shows how other brands are using colours to evoke emotions with many brands using a blue similar to that of this years Pantone colour of the year to represent the trust, dependability and strength you’d want from them and their products and services. This includes pharmaceutical brand Pfizer, dental brand Oral-B and tech brands such as Dell and AT&T.

what is pantone's color of the year

Credit: The Logo Company

Why not Pantone match your merchandise?

With colour being so important to brands, it’s important to reflect your brand colours fully across all of your marketing and promotions, including that of any branded merchandise you choose. The benefits of Pantone matching your merchandise includes:

  • Pantone matched merchandise ensures your promotional products fully represent your brand whilst ensuring brand consistency. This also makes your brand look more professional and shows you’ve gone the extra mile to ensure your merchandise is in keeping with your brand.
  • Colour matched merchandise instantly identifies an item of merchandise with your brand, this potentially has the benefit of aiding in brand recognition when encountering future brand exposure by consistently exposing your clients to the exact colour repeatedly.
  • The vast majority of branded merchandise uses stock colours, whilst this isn’t a bad thing by choosing Pantone matched merchandise it really distinguishes your merchandise from other promotional items your clients receive. At things like trade shows and exhibitions, where lots of promotional items are given out, it is worth investing in Pantone matched promotional merchandise to set your brand apart from the numerous other items your potential client will receive from other businesses.
  • With Pantone matched merchandise often being more distinguishable from other items of merchandise it carries with it a perceived higher value, which can result in your clients being more appreciative of your gifting efforts.

We’ve a variety of promotional products that can be Pantone matched to your brand colours ranging from brollies to drink bottles. In addition to being Pantone matched, all of our items come printed with your logo. A selection of the merchandise we can Pantone match to your brands colours can be seen below, to view our full offering click the button below.