Shades of a Decade: A Look Back at 10 Years of Pantone’s Color of the Year

Posted by on Jun 23, 2011 in Inspiration | No Comments
Pantone 10 years of color

Pantone "Shades of a Decade"

I’ve been looking at color trends lately for a project and found this graphic showing Pantone’s color picks for the last 10 years on their online newsletter, Tones.

Each year, color experts from Pantone and designers (print, fashion, product and interior design) determine what colors are most likely to be influential in the upcoming year.These experts also look to see what cultural, social, economic and technological issues would affect the upcoming year’s use of colors. I think it’s interesting that after the economic downturn in 2009 that the Color of the Year for 2009 was Mimosa, a “warm cheerful shade that sparks imagination and expresses hope and reassurance”.

Usually my color choices for design tend to be influenced by a client’s long term branding rather than yearly color trends. For example, the Seattle Art Museum had four main colors in their palette (PMS 382 green, PMS 312 blue, PMS 142 orange and PMS 214 pink) and the YMCA’s new branding campaign had 17 colors in their palette. Sometimes, it’s inspiring to step away from the “usual” color palettes and look to see what Pantone predicts for color trends.

Read more about how Pantone selects the “Color of the Year” and see more color trend predictions at

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