Every new year, the Pantone vintage colour is announced. It is of interest to designers, interior architects, graphic artists, decorators… But what is the story behind this “Pantone colour” and why does a single private company seem to be the forerunner of a trend? I explain it all to you!
The Pantone Company
It all began in 1866 when Pantone was a small company based in New Jersey that made colour charts.
A century later, Lawrence Herbert first joined the company as an employee and then bought it out (for a few tens of thousands of dollars). This graduate of a Bachelor of Art in Biology and Chemistry will invent the PMS, Pantone Matching System.
It is an innovative and revolutionary tool, a universal colour palette created for printing: to ensure that the colours are perfectly respected, the system identifies them with a specific code, composed of a formula and a designation. As we all know, no one sees colour in the same way!
In 1994, Pantone invented hexachromy, which makes it possible to reproduce many more shades than the four-colour system. This technique uses 6 points of colour. The printing quality is exceptional but also more expensive. Pantone colours allow printing of colours that cannot be printed in classic CMYK.
The Pantone colour chart
This system, also known as the “pantonier”, offers today a palette of more than 2000 colours. It is the Tower of Babel of colours, offering all professionals in the printing, textile, coating and design industries in general a universal language. Thus, regardless of the quality of the screen, the printer, the software or the operating system used by the different actors in the design process, the colours will be defined by precise values and the risk of error on the hue is eliminated.
The code consists of a 3-digit code for the base colour, plus a 4-digit code for the shade.
For example, Bumblebee yellow has the code 14-0958.
There is not one but many Pantone colour charts. There are U series (uncoated for uncoated paper), C series (coated for coated paper), M series for matt paper, colour charts for metallic colours, etc. The Pantone website allows you to choose your colour system according to your needs: printing, textile, digital, etc.
There is now a second palette, the FHI (Fashion, Home + Interiors), specifically dedicated to professionals in the decoration and fashion industries and enriched with 315 new colours.
Pantone colour of the year 2022
The Pantone colour of the year 2022 is PANTONE® 17-3938 Very Peri.
I’m seeing a purple but on the Pantone website it says “a warm, friendly blue hue with a carefree confidence and joyful attitude, encouraging uninhibited expression and experimentation.”
Quite a programme isn’t it? This is the first time that a colour has been tailor-made to be the colour of the year.
The announcement of this “colour of the year” is not just a marketing stunt. It really announces the colour trend of the moment.
If you want to get an idea of the different colours of the last few years, the website Graphiline has published a retrospective from 2007 to 2017. It’s pretty cool to see the evolution over 10 years. By the way, what do you think of the “Blue Iris” of 2008? On my Retina screen, it is very close to the colour 2022.
In colour psychology, violet combines the power, energy and strength of red with the integrity and truth of blue. It has the shortest wavelength of all the colours (it is also the last visible colour in the spectrum). It therefore creates connections with a higher world. It is the colour we associate with consciousness and spiritual reflection. It is the colour of contemplation and meditation, of the paranormal and of transmutation.
Purple is not used much in decoration except in luxury. It is a rather cold but fascinating colour that brings depth and mystery to a room. It is perfect for a refined atmosphere.
Its calming effects are remarkable: violet slows the heartbeat and calms the brain waves. It is a colour that is conducive to rest and dreams.
Inka Mathew and her Tiny PMS Match
You must have realised if you read this blog regularly, I am an absolute fan of colour 😉 And that’s why I “love my job” as the young people say, because it allows me to bring all its good energy to my clients. And that’s why I “love my job” as the kids say, because it allows me to bring all its good energy to my clients.
I loved the initiative of Inka Mathew, an American designer, who did a long time work (2 years) by seeking to find the exact Pantone correspondence of a multitude of small objects of the everyday life.
I’m posting the link to the album on Tumblr. All the pictures were taken with her iPhone. She published a nice book after this experience.