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Pantone's Color of the Year – Yay or Nay?

Pantone's Color of the Year – Yay or Nay?

Every year Pantone declares the color of the year. It's a great tool to have if you are a designer, but what does it mean for the everyday person?


I looked at 7 years of Pantone's Color of the Year and here's what I found:


2015 – Marsala

Marsala was an earthy, red wine color, suitable for fall and winter. This color may have done well with the upper eschelon, but for everyday people, Sea Salt was the winner that year. In fact, the top five most popular colors in 2015 all had a relaxed, beachy theme.


2016 – Rose Quartz / Serenity Blue

Pantone had a tie for first place in 2016 with Rose Quartz and Serenity Blue. The pastels were just a bit too childlike for most, and consumers were much more into contrast. Black, white and gray were the most popular colors of 2016.


2017 – Greenery

2017 was a year for the natural colors, and Greenery was chosen as Pantone's prize color. Decor enthusiasts loved it, but used it more as a pop of color rather than the standard. Neutrals were the winner with consumers, with the top spots going to greige, white, and gray.


2018 – Ultra Violet

2018 went vibrant, with Ultra Violet as Pantone's choice. However, home decor enthusiasts stayed with the tried and true black, and navy made a splash as a very close second.


2019 – Living Coral


From outer space to under the sea, Pantone made a huge switch of colors in 2019. Living Coral did well with both designers and consumers as a perfect pop of color, especially in sunrooms and patios. Coral was the perfect companion to some of the most popular colors of that year, including bronze and blue.


2020 – Classic Blue

Finally in 2020, Pantone gave us a color we could all love. Classic Blue, a rich dark royal blue is a great choice as a paint or décor color. Even though white and navy were the most popular colors with homeowners, this is the closest Pantone has come to getting it right for everyone.


2021 – Illuminating / Ultimate Gray

After a year like 2020, I was hoping Pantone would come up with a palette that was calm and soothing. For the second time in a decade, there are two winners for 2021, Illuminating and Ultimate Gray. While the two colors beautifully complement each other, I think I would have preferred just the gray. To me, Illuminating is more of an accent color to the Ultimate Gray.


So what do you think? Are you a tried and true Color of the Year enthusiast? Or do you side with the most popular colors each year? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Krystyna Bunnell - May 27, 2021

Thanks, Krystyna Bunnell for

Marlene Gundlach - December 21, 2020

Got the love bird pillow for my in laws and it is adorable. They absolutely love it and in 2020 a little reminder of a long lasting love is all too important!!

Kathy Rooke - December 18, 2020

Saw your personalized pillows on the Hoda and Jenna show—loved the idea!
Ordered one for my sis for her December birthday with the names of all the dogs she has had and has—all the dogs she has loved.
And, she loved the pillow!

Kerry Bishop - December 17, 2020

love the pillows I just received, colors are great also, thank you

Christine M Mallahan - December 17, 2020

First and foremost I love their customer service…top notch. The pillows are beautiful and are thank you gifts to 2 different families, I know they will love them. I had a small glitch on my order which was handled instantly. Olive Branch is a small business that I am happy to support. You won’t be disappointed if you order form this company!

Penny W. - December 17, 2020

I ordered the largest personalized pillow available and love it! It’s actually for my son and his family as a Christmas present, but mean time I get to enjoy seeing it on my sofa.

Considering how personalized this gift is, the pillow arrived very promptly and in great condition. The pillow is sooooo soft and will be enjoyed many times as it is snugged.

I will definitely order from this company again!

Jo Caulkins - December 15, 2020

I have yet to follow the Pantone color trends, although I do check them out each year.
I prefer neutral rooms with pops of bright color on one or two walls.

Elizabeth T. - December 15, 2020

I just happened to see your segment on the Today show last week and I ordered two of your monogram pillows which are absolutely beautiful! One is in my family room and the other is a gift. Will definitely be ordering more off your website.

Michelle Babineaux - December 15, 2020

I ordered two monogram pillows as Christmas gifts for my stepfather and his girlfriend, I am excited to see how they came out. I saw your products on the Today show last week and I was so excited because I was stomped on a Christmas gift .

Michelle Babineaux - December 15, 2020

I love the new neutral color of grays, this is the new brown. Love the blog and waiting until the next issue.

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