The Colors of Suggestion

I find it remarkable that we humans are so easily manipulated by suggestion. Take for instance, color. Do you have any idea why you wear the colors you do? Or why you paint your house a certain color? (Given that you are not in a community that decides for you what color you can use.) Why your once Harvest Gold stove is now stainless steel? Why your car is Midnight and your towels Seafoam?


I remember years ago being taught about the Pantone Color Institute when I was into greeting card design. This research group shares its “color expertise” with industry, fashion, graphic artists, interior designers, moviemakers, and on and on. It sets the tone for what colors are going to be “in” in any given year. Now don’t get me wrong. If you are color clueless and need to know that Christmas red and Parisian chartreuse probably don’t play well together, you can be thankful that someone else has done the hard work. If you are just too busy to mull over color, you are of this century and also grateful for experts. If, however, you are perfervidly independent and wish to make your own, uninfluenced choices, you may have to hunt for the color you want to drive around in.

Here is a list of past colors: (italics mine)

Tangerine Tango (2012)

Honeysuckle (real honeysuckle is two colors, usually white and yellow and or orange. And there is a coral (…which was called “watermelon by the fashion mavens in 2011)

Turquoise (2010)

Mimosa (yellow) (2009)

Blue Iris (2008)

Chili Pepper (2007)

Sand Dollar (brown, ivory, blue, purple) (2006)

Blue Turquoise (2005)

Tigerlily (orange) (2004)

Aqua Sky (2003)

True Red (2002)

Fuchsia Rose (2001) (This one gets me…fuchsia is a purple, and rose, well, usually pose means pink, but it can in reality be anything from red to black and everything in between!)

Cerulean (a deep blue) (2000)


Do you see an unimaginative pattern of rotation here? So, isn’t it nice that 2013’s color is a total departure? May we present Emerald Green?


Pantone is pretty blatant about it: “Sharing a strong passion for how color can transform a face, mood or even an attitude, Sephora and Pantone continue to change how consumers wear, feel and think about color through the second annual radiant and modern Color of the Year beauty collection.” They’re predicting emerald green eye shadow and “luxurious” interiors. Finally, a great year for the Irish, I am suggesting.


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