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AdminJan 20, 2016 6:02:04 AM6 min read

2016 Pantone Colors of the Year and Marketing

Rose Quartz and Serenity… the latest in the Yankee Candle Collection? Nope. They are the 2016 Pantone Colors of the Year and they can influence fashion trends you see at the mall to creating a warm apartment environment. It was the first time in fifteen years that Pantone picked two colors.

If you’re thinking, OK, let me know when Crayola drops them in the next box of crayons (they are colors for crying out loud!), the NY Times makes the argument there is a political tone in these choices.

Guess it depends on who wears the Rose Quartz Colored glasses.

Stepping away from politics and the shopping mall, how does it impact marketing efforts (if at all?). We approached this a couple of different ways but in the end decided with this much terrific insight, we included the question and answer format.

We’ll start with Jenny Alberti of Amelia Street Studio, their mission is to create thoughtfully special printed, digital, visual, experiential, and emotional stuff to elevate & enhance a business or event.

We agree; you can see some of their work at Be Leaf, a new restaurant in the Loop.

Pantone Color of The Year Markers

Overall, what did you think about the color selections? 

About 50% of the time do I “like” the Pantone color of the year. I think the color selections are spot on (no pun intended). A pale pink and an airy blue are trendy in design recently. The fact that there are two colors blended together is also a modern take.

With everything becoming much more digital-centric, the use of gradients has increased. It’s also hard to find two colors that blend well together without making a muddled-mess of a color in the middle, but these two colors don’t do that.

How do you see the colors of the year impacting design?

I think there are designers who will use these colors specifically because they are chosen by Pantone, then there are designers who are subconsciously swayed by them. I have had a client, in the fashion industry, who just wanted to use the Pantone color of the year as the dominant color for that year’s event branding… every year. Although, I don’t think we’re going to see a surge of pastel designs over vibrant hues this coming year.

Jenny Alberti Graphic Designer

How will they make their way into small format/short run collateral graphic designs, i.e brochures, collateral, overall layout?

With everything becoming much more digital-centric, the use of gradients has increased. Pixels can handle the color blend really well, therefore gradients will trickle down to the printed collateral. Gradients are a nice way to give something dimension and interest while keeping things clean. Rose Quartz and Serenity are a great mix of warm and cool.

What about large format graphics such as office branding, window graphics, wall graphics etc.?

It’s important to keep in mind, when you’re designing something more timely, like an event invite or seasonal promotion, using trendy colors can help it stand out. However, for evergreen projects, like brand identity or wall graphics, it’s more appropriate to choose a color pallet that best suits the business and its audience, not because a couple PMS’s were singled-out.

We also caught up with Margie Dana, a content marketing consultant and content creator, who has been involved with the print industry since 1997.

How will Rose Quartz & Serenity make their way into small format/short run collateral graphic designs, i.e. brochures, collateral, overall layout?

I think that within the industry, graphic designers are most aware of the Pantone Color of the Year, don’t you? They’re in the perfect position to introduce Rose Quartz & Serenity into their designs this year. Of course, this means they can persuade their clients to use them as well.

I’m also hoping that associations such as AIGA and HOW incorporate these lovely colors into their 2016 branding. Because these are such ethereal and soft hues. they lend themselves to certain markets, likeweddings, anything to do with babies (fashion, bedding, announcements, birthday party materials, wallpaper, gift wrap, even furniture), spas, and of course, the beauty and fashion industries.

Margie Dana Content Specialist

What about large format graphics such as office branding, window graphics, wall graphics etc.?

I can see retailers in the industries I’ve mentioned above using Rose Quartz & Serenity in their banners and wall graphics, yes.

Could this make an impact on the digital side of marketing, email & video outreach?

I don’t see why not. It’ll be interesting to see if we notice many new websites featuring these two this year.

Have you seen the colors trending yet?

In past years, I’ve always took note of which brands pick up on the Pantone Color of the Year. This will be very interesting. They’re a far cry from last year’s rich & vibrant Marsala. Just today in the mail we got a Crate & Barrel catalog. It’s entitled, “the color book,” and honest to Pete, I half expected the products to feature Rose Quartz & Serenity. Not happening, unfortunately! It would’ve been excellent to see the influence so soon. I’m hopeful that Valentine’s Day materials will reflect the two new tones, though.

Are you still on the pantone brick road with us?

We have one last perspective from Jess Zafariss, the Senior Online Editor of +

How will Rose Quartz & Serenity make their way into small format/short run collateral graphic designs, (in 2016 & beyond)?

Print design is increasingly becoming about the multi-sensory experience of interacting with the weight, the color, the texture of a piece of design. The relaxing, almost luxurious gentility of Rose Quartz & Serenity as a duo is well-suited to publication design because it adds a level of leisure to an encounter with print media.

As background or accent colors, they slow the eye and allow audiences to absorb content in a more purposeful, meaningful way. Leatrice Eiseman calls them “easy, comfortable colors” that are familiar and offer stability—even anescape—in an increasingly unstable world.

How do you see the choices impacting retail and commercial office environments?

In a time of ubiquitous neons, it’s interesting to see softer pastels in the spotlight. In many ways, these colors are more versatile than eye-searing neons, especially for interior spaces.  Jude Stewart, our resident color guru at Print magazine, calls the selection “an indisputable power move, to seize the colors of passivity and rock them like a CEO or head-of-state.”  

Indeed, it’s fascinating that what may have been considered gendered or infantile colors are working their way more prominently into our collective imagination, and I’m keen to watch how they’ll appear in professional environments as Millennials—who have a more fluid perspective on gender lines than their predecessors—take on more leadership roles in the workplace.

how magazine Jess Zafarris

Could this make an impact on the digital side of marketing? Email marketing, video or website design?

Absolutely. Because these colors are gentle on the eyes, they’re great for bringing life to web designs without creating an overwhelming experience. You can already see a fantastic application of a similarly peaceful pink on AIGA’s Eye on Design blog; it brings what could easilybe a flat, unremarkable design to life.

There’s a certain peace in these colors that I expect will enable interactive and web designers to capitalize on that tranquility and create more expressive, immersive work.

What’s Next?

And as you can see, we used the colors in our own marketing efforts today, including email design, blog content and brainstorming ways to include in upcoming direct mail campaigns and a color booklet we are printing of recent projects.

No matter the choices you make, it is important to think about what will make the most positive impact for your brand and outreach.

What do you think of the 2016 Pantone Colors of The Year? We’d love to hear from you in the comments box!