With the new year we not only opened a new chapter but we also stepped into a new decade. Considering our current global social and cultural state, Pantone has announced the Classic Blue (Pantone - 19-4052) as the Color of the Year. Let's scratch the surface a bit and see what is behind the Classic Blue curtain?
Laurie Pressman, Vice President at the Pantone Color Institute says: “It’s a color that anticipates what’s going to happen next”
First take a look at our Present
From the perspective of global society, the migration from east to west and the increasing terror actions are defining the public speech and in many places the everyday lives of people for several years. Apart from the social movements, the Australian bushfires, the Amazon wildfires and disappearing of the Arctic ice are consequences of global warming and we are already witnessing natural disasters. Not to mention the currently raging COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying austerity measures that are clearly reshaping the global economy and soon it will have a totally new frame of interpretation. Also this uncertainty and the not knowing of the next steps deepen more and more existential questions: what is the ultimate purpose, are we heading into the right direction, what do we need to do for not letting ourselves become so vulnerable?
We all know that technology is constantly challenging our human abilities. Today even more than ever. Not in an apocalyptic sense, but in a more wider perspective. The rapid pace of automatisation, the continuous evolution of robots and AI are pinning us right in the Cyber Age. For instance the Cybertruck's Mad Max like design, released by Tesla is clearly symbolising that the scenery of the sci-fi movies are already parts of our present. By today it’s clear that the new decade will be about the unusual and the new because significant changes are expected all over the world: the use of new resources, the reappraisal of social norms and climate change are just some of these key factors.
The Pantone’s solution is blue
So, considering our global cultural state, Pantone says that we need colors promising security and protection. The Classic Blue instilling calm and confidence also ensures the grounds of making new connections for a fresh and stable beginning. Due to its simplicity and seriousity it suggests elegance, durability and timelessness for a better future.
That is why the blue has become strongly inspirational and trendy in most design mediums such as fashion, architecture, graphic and product design. And Blue did not appear out of the blue: last year even if the Living Coral was the number one, blue was also in the leading section. By now the throne was officially occupied by the shade of Classic Blue.
Today we are being bombed by mostly negative news injected by panic on a daily basis that can affect our well-being. This approach of the media could cost us serious mental health problems in the long term. Many media outlets are creating a schizophrenic state: while instigating panic they are using the color blue on their platforms to strengthen the sense of security and calm. Supposedly they are well aware of the increased need for stability and trust even if this is only an illusion.
The relevance of the blue's impact on your behaviour and daily life, is up to you to decide. If we were to illustrate strictly our current global state with a certain color, we would probably choose a more powerful and alerting color, just think of the Coronavirus. But fortunately mankind by its nature is hopeful, tending to look forward, plan and trust in a better tomorrow. Therefore, the blue symbolises an exit strategy, a break from our crowded present and having the ability to increase our sense of security. From this perspective, Pantone made a good choice.
More so, the Color of the Year not only has this symbolic value, the yearly trend direction is part of a very successful marketing strategy to promote Pantone colours. But even if we are well aware that this kind of strategy strongly contributes to their revenue stream, we should acknowledge that at the same time it suggests a positive and constructive future vision, what we really need in this critical present. One thing is for sure: the trend is set, following it is unavoidable so be prepared to see a lot of blue in this year.
CMYK: C:100 M:65 Y:0 K:27
RGB: R:0 G:70 B:128
Written by: Zsolt Kolcsár, Graphic Designer & Lecturer