Pantone Colour of the Year 2020

Late last year, Pantone announced that its 2020 Colour of the Year would be PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue. In fact, the company described it as an enduring blue that highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation. So, Pantone acknowledges that with this new decade, we are crossing the threshold into a new era. Therefore, it selected Classic Blue to instil calm, confidence and connection during an era of challenge and change.

Classic Blue: An explanation

“We are living in a time that requires trust and faith,” notes Leatrice Eisemann, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Imbued with a deep resonance, Classic Blue provides an anchoring foundation.” Significantly, Pantone describes Classic Blue as “non-aggressive and easily relatable”. Also, the company acknowledges that in today’s hi-tech world, we gravitate to colours that are honest and offer the promise of protection. “Associated with the return of another day, this universal favourite is comfortably embraced,” Pantone concludes.


We introduced blue furniture and soft furnishings to create a sense of comfort and calm in this elegant drawing room

The psychology of colour

Our team is very interested in colour psychology, so this is all intensely thought-provoking. Now colour is, of course, a key element of interior design. But colour also impacts almost everything we do, think and feel. In fact, it influences opinions, moods, behaviours and emotions. And colour deeply connects with our society, political, economic and historical events.

There are, of course, commercial implications too. Pantone’s Colour of the Year is hotly anticipated the world over. As a result, the experts who select the colour, consider trends across society and culture first. They also observe the entertainment industry, and films in production. These experts even evaluate art collections, new artists, lifestyles, play styles and socio-economic conditions. They consider popular travel destinations too, before they choose the new shade. 

We found the blue motif in these statement vinyl tiles created an instant connection with a luxury entrance hall we designed, adding a contemporary twist to the property’s Victorian theme

Sensory expert advice

In turn, the Pantone Colour of the Year influences both product development and purchasing decisions across a wide range of industries. These include – but are not limited to – interiors, fashion, homeware, tech and industrial design. Therefore, it seems fitting that, for the first time, Pantone has partnered with various ‘sensory experts’ to evolve its chosen shade. As a result, Classic Blue is far more than just a colour swatch. There is a complementary sound, smell, taste and feeling, to help both creatives and consumers think differently about colour. These take the form of the ‘Vivid Nostalgia’ pop track, a berry fragrance, a velvet-like fabric and a tea blend.
Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute, summarises this symbiosis: “The Pantone Colour of the Year highlights the relationship between trends in colour, and what is taking place in our global culture…[It’s] a colour that reflects what individuals feel they need that a colour can hope to answer.”
Pressman describes colours as “a critical form of communication, and a way to express and affect ideas and emotions”. In fact, she believes that designers and brands should feel inspired to use colour to engage and connect and we quite agree.

This statement sofa is a stylish focal point, and provides an eye-catching pop of colour to break up the room’s neutral colour scheme.

The background of the colour blue

So what does the colour blue in general – and Pantone’s Classic Blue in particular – express and evoke? Well, blue is recognisable and reliable. When compared with 2019’s more showy Living Coral, Classic Blue is safe and reassuring. In fact, it represents calm and dependability. It also tends to be comforting and familiar. So, in conflicting/uncertain times, this makes perfect sense.

Twenty years ago, when Pantone’s debut Colour of the Year was announced, did you know the choice was Cerulean Blue? At a time when Y2K paranoia was in full flow, they selected this shade for its peaceful, restful qualities. Then, two decades later, Pantone has plumped for a different shade of blue; however, in these turbulent times, the parallels are clear. So, colour has come full circle, in response to a similar zeitgeist.

How to decorate with blue

New colour trends bring new inspiration and ideas. In terms of interior design, we find blue is incredibly versatile to work with. The Pantone Colour of the Year, Classic Blue, is a dependable shade that can express tradition and elegance, as well as unexpected boldness. So, you can use this as a stable foundation, part of a diverse tonal palette or even a contrasting accent colour.

Best of all, blue works in almost every room of the home – not just bedrooms or bathrooms. It is thought to stimulate mental activity, thus making it ideal for home offices. This beautiful colour also adds depth and interest to a living room. Blue can even add a touch of elegance to dining spaces, especially when paired with gold. And, it can soften an all-white kitchen in an instant.

Using the ‘Colour of the Year’

Darker walls remain in vogue, and blue is a clever choice if you consider grey to be too sombre. For a more formal vibe, choose a matt finish. If your room is large enough, Classic Blue works well as a main colour. If your space is small – or lacks natural light – consider a blue accent wall instead. Alternatively, use blue on certain wall sections only. This will help the colour to stand out, without going overboard. Within the right palette, blue works equally well on interior doors, ceilings – even a statement staircase!

Remember that paint is not your only option. Blue tiles are a wonderful way to introduce pattern and texture, to both walls and floors. Go bold with a block colour, or choose a mosaic style to break up the blue. With regard to flooring, a rug in the Pantone Colour of the Year is a great way to pull together an open-concept space – and it’s practical too.

The art of accessorising

Another way to incorporate Classic Blue into your décor is with furniture. A statement couch in velvet adds an instant touch of luxury. Blue dining chairs are a fast, effective way to update the space where you entertain.
If you intend to redecorate regularly, a less permanent option is to introduce Classic Blue accessories into your home. Think throws, pillows, cushions, curtains, candles, bedding, vases, and even artwork.

We have many ideas on how to incorporate Classic Blue (or any other shade you prefer) into your interior décor. Please get in touch to find out more about the design services we offer, or to book a consultation.

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