Pantone color of the year 2020: Classic Blue

Pantone color of the year 2020

Pantone color of the year 2020

Roses are red, Pantone is blue, good to hear that the big players like our color palette too!

Okay, maybe we are closer to 2736 C with our signature blue, but we know it best – classic colors are powerful. We have written a bit more about what is Pantone Institute in our post from 2017, so let’s not repeat ourselves, but let’s think for a moment about blue (and colors in general) in branding and design.

As Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Institute explains:

We are living in a time that requires trust and faith. It is this kind of consistency and confidence that is expressed by Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on. Imbued with a deep resonance, Classic Blue provides an anchoring foundation. A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow communication.

Classic blue

A bit of history

Ms Eiseman makes a good point. Blue has often been associated with serious business. Navy blue is of course the hue of navy uniforms. Queen blue has been known in England since 1661, and the brand color of the Imperial College is of course, imperial blue. Look at the logos of Allianz, NATO or Royal Bank of Scotland. The color didn’t come up completely… out of the blue. But not all hues of blue are created equal. This color is also associated with calmness and serenity, its far extreme being depression and “feeling blue”. For ages people used to dress boys in pink – a variant of  a color traditionally associated with Christ: red, while girls were wearing light blue – the color of Virgin Mary and therefore a sybol of innocence and truth.

Science behind colors and design

The best proof that the science of colors really works is the fact that when the United States Transportation Security Administration changed the color of their airport screening officers from white to blue, they reported that the passengers became more compliant, as blue was associated with an authority figure. Blue is also seen as a more productive color – in one of the experiments patients were asked to stay in one out of two rooms – red or blue. The ones who stayed in the red one, left after 50 minutes on average, while the ones who entered the blue room stayed there for about 80 minutes. Blue is also the most favorite color among men.

It may be surprising to some, that colors have direction and weight. Experiments have proven that people see a blue box heavier than the same size box colored yellow. What’s even more surprising, there is an over representation of blue cars in car accidents. Why? Because blue is a receding color – it seems to move back and blue cars are simply closer than they seem.

Tips for the designers

Designers should have the science of colors in the back of their heads, but be careful – it’s not the same in all cultures. Muslims see green, not blue as the color of heaven. Languages make things complicated too. In some of them, green and blue are colexified, so essentially, they are the same color: gorm in Scottish Gaelic or glas in the Celtic languages or ao in Japanese (midori, a term for green is a recent introduction). The same applies to Namibian Himba people and Papuan Berinmo ethnic group. As the language affects perception, those cultures, who have blue and green colexified, may not even be able to tell these colors apart! Greek speakers, who recognize two shades of blue – ghalazio and ble tend to have problems with seing the difference after moving to UK.

The tip for the designers is the one that we usually apply to everything: it’s good to know the rules but it’s better to know the end user – make sure you get to know them more often than once in blue moon!

By the way, nice move IKEA, you Real Time Marketing champs!

IKEA Poland: Colour of 2020? It suits us!

IKEA Poland: Color of 2020? It suits us!