There’s a jaunty and rambling line delivered by the actress Meryl Streep, portraying a character “loosely” based on the infamously acerbic Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue. In that line, she launches into a rant that connects an incredulously broad range of social-political events with the emergence of a particular color in the fashion palette. While it may seem far-fetched, it did make for an intriguing proposition: if social-political events shape commercial color, might color also shape social-political landscapes?
While, we cannot authoritatively say they do, one thing that we can say is that the color company Pantone, which produces a “Color of the Year”, takes that color and the selection of it very seriously. Each year, Pantone meets secretly in a European capital with representatives from various nations’ color standards groups, and after days of deliberation, presentation and debate, the color for the following year is chosen. Previous examples include, 2011’s Honeysuckle, chosen as a balm to sooth the stress of (then) current events. According to one representative, “Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues.”
For this year, the color emerald was chosen for its boldness, believed to “symbolize growth, renewal and prosperity”. Each secret meeting’s results are published in Pantone View and are, reportedly, gobbled up by fashion designers, florists, and many other consumer-oriented companies. Though believed to be highly drawn upon by the fashion world, the Pantone selection is also a source of inspiration for other industries that work with color, such as commercial signage, graphic, web design and digital illustration.
Facebook in Radiant Orchid?
Companies like Blue Pond Signs also use the Pantone system in providing the freshest and brightest colors in creating one-of-a-kind custom signage for their customers, who recognize the benefit of color forecasting to draw from a palette that can engage new customers. For 2014, Pantone’s color of the year is “Radiant Orchid”, based on their analysis of media, socio-political events, technological advances and other factors worldwide. Pantone describes the color as “an invitation to innovation” and as companies across industries can attest this is always an in demand commodity.