How Pantone’s Colors of the Year Have Changed Over the Last 20 Years

Since 2000, the Pantone Color Institute has revealed its predictions for the color of the year based on a myriad of factors.

Pantone’s colors of the year — which have largely been bright, eye-catching hues that range across the entire color spectrum — are chosen through in-depth trend forecasting by the institute. Pantone looks at everything from the year’s mood to fashion, entertainment, art, music, travel and social media, among others, to make its decision.

“Each year, our Pantone Color of the Year is a color we see crossing all areas of design,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. “It’s a color that serves as an expression of a mood or an attitude on the part of the consumers, a color that will resonate around the world, a color that reflects what people are looking for and what they feel they need that color to answer.”

In certain years, Pantone sees socioeconomic or political issues having a bigger influence on its color of the year prediction. For instance, in 2006 Pantone chose Sand Dollar — a neutral beige shade — as a reflection of the nation’s concern about the economy.

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Pantone chose two colors again for its 2021 color of the year prediction, deciding on Ultimate Gray and Illuminating to represent hope, optimism and stability following the uncertainty and stress caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the presidential election.

“Because the mood or what is taking place in our society changes or evolves from one year to the next, the color we select will always change,” Pressman continued. “Color is a language that expresses what is taking place in our global culture.”

Click through the above gallery to see all of Pantone’s Colors of the Year since 2000.

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