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GIO Looks at Pantone’s 2016 Color(s) of the Year, Rose Quartz & Serenity

For the first time ever, color authority Pantone has announced not one, but two colors of the year to reign supreme in 2016. Every year since 2000, the world’s arbiters of color have selected a singular color to celebrate. Last year’s pick was warm and earthy Marsala (Pantone 18-1438), and the year before that it was the flowery Radiant Orchid (Pantone 18-3224). 

Pantone_Color_of_the_Year_2016_Color_StandardsThe two colors chosen as THE color of the year for 2016, Rose Quartz (Pantone 13-1520), a soft pink, and Serenity (Pantone 15-3919), a muted blue, are so often seen together that they are a natural pairing.

While these gentle shades were chosen in tandem to convey calming warmth and tranquility, “welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security,” the hues are also a nod to gender equality and gender fluidity. Pantone states that the prevalent combination of Rose Quartz and Serenity challenges traditional perceptions of color association. Pantone explained in a press release,

“Globally, we are experiencing gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design.This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumers’ increased comfort with using color as a form of expression, and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage that challenge traditional color associations.”

Pantone views the Color of the Year as a snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture, serving as an expression of a mood and an attitude. And while strong bold colors and geometrics have been popular the last few years, people are beginning to move away from them. This move toward softer colors could reflect a yearning for comfort and innocence, as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.

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Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year is Warm and Earthy Marsala


Pantone's Color of the year, Marsala

Since 1990, the Pantone Color Institute has annually decreed a Color of the Year, forecasting a specific hue that designers, product makers, and–ultimately–consumers will be using, wearing and buying for the next twelve months. Based on the announcement for 2015, Pantone has pronounced Marsala the “it” color of the coming year.

Described by Pantone as a “naturally robust wine red,” Marsala is in stark contrast to last year’s vivid Radiant Orchid. Unlike the 2014 Color of the year, with it’s “enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones,” the red-brown hue of Marsala has a dusky, earthy quality that’s warm and welcoming, yet elegant and sophisticated, too.

What inspires Pantone when choosing a color of the year? Leatrice Eiseman, executive director at Pantone, explains it’s not as simple as noting what’s hot on the runways or which makeup is selling, “It has to resonate around the world, to express in color what is taking place in the global zeitgeist.”

Marsala’s role in expressing the spirit of the times, according to Eisman, is to enrich “our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us into its embracing warmth. ”

Like the fortified wine that is its namesake, the 2015 color of the year is described by Pantone as a “tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal, while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.”

Marsala is universally appealing and very adaptable with complex undertones that give it a chameleon-like quality to convey different looks: use a matte finish to emphasize the earthy nature of the color, or add sheen to create an sense of glamour and luxury. Marsala becomes rich and plush when used on textured surfaces, making it a good choice for rugs and upholstered pieces.

Whether Marsala is used on flat or textured surfaces, and regardless of the finish, the hue pairs dramatically with neutrals, including warmer taupes and grays and “because of its burnished undertones,” states Eiseman, “sultry Marsala is highly compatible with amber, umber and golden yellows, greens in both turquoise and teal, and blues in the more vibrant range.” Click here to view Pantone’s color pairings for Marsala.

Marsala was seen on the spring runways and is already showing up at the cosmetic counter. With its warmth, earthiness and richness, Marsala may well have a broad appeal that will make it a go-to in residential and commercial interiors in the months to come.