When we create a new brand or update an existing one, we will provide the client with a set of brand guidelines. In these guidelines are specs for the brand’s exact PMS colors. So, what on earth is a PMS color? PMS is the Pantone Matching System – a proprietary system used universally in design, fashion and manufacturing to ensure color consistency. And every year, they choose a Pantone Color of the Year.
For some reason this fascinates me. I blame it on my upbringing in a small town in Ohio, once the pottery capital of the world, renowned for Fiestaware. Homer Laughlin, much like Pantone, announces a new color every year as an addition to their product line. Unlike Pantone, Fiestaware will often retire colors, making them even more desirable while on the shelves.
So when Pantone announced their 2014 Color of the Year as Radiant Orchid, I was intrigued. Selected after careful consideration, Radiant Orchid has been defined by Pantone as a “captivating, magical, enigmatic purple,” intended to spark imagination and encourage creativity.
According to Pantone’s press release, the main priority in finding the right Color of the Year is selecting one “whose symbolism matches current world issues and feelings.” Pantone reflects on vast color influences including the entertainment, film, art and travel industries. Because Pantone is a international color matching system, the color must resonate around the world.
After extensive research and interviews with key influencers (much like our Assessment process), the company hosts a secret two-day meeting of representatives from several color standard groups. These experts give presentations and hold debates on their favorite hues until one is chosen. Once agreed upon, Pantone goes to work to refine the exact shade. They explore its use in fashion, interior design, print advertising and even makeup. The color is finally announced in December.
To me, Radiant Orchid is romantic in an enchanting and exotic way. I love the whisper of pink in it (something I thought I would never say). I love how it pairs with darker hues of blue and bright yellows. It draws you in reflecting a hint of regal-ness usually reserved to darker shades of purple, yet remains airy and light. This shade is a breath of fresh air in comparison to 2013’s Emerald and 2012’s Tangerine Tango (sorry, but I don’t know what they were smoking those years).
So what will be the color next year? Only time will tell. But after 2014, I’d like to see something a little more gender-neutral or even more masculine, a hue that serves more as a staple and can be played up through accent colors. Given the events of the world over the past year, I think the color should reflect peace, stability and harmony. Should I happen to snag an invite to Pantone’s secret meeting, my vote is for PMS 2955 U. A color to wash away the past and represent a clearer, calmer future for the world.