Pantone Inc., the company best known for its Pantone Matching System (PMS), which is a standardized color reproduction system, annually announces the Color of the Year! The color is published in Pantone View for fashion designers, florists and other consumer-oriented companies to use in guiding their designs and planning for future products.

Here are the colors for the last five years:

  • 2011 – Honeysuckle
  • 2012 – Tangerine Tango
  • 2013 – Emerald
  • 2014 – Radiant Orchid
  • 2015 – Marsala

Color is important in marketing. We know that the purpose of marketing is to put your products and services in front of your targets, hoping they will purchase. Color plays an important role in that marketing because color is emotional. And, one of the keys of marketing is to speak to people on an emotional level.

According to Jack Bredenfoerder, director of BV Color Strategy, and past president of the Color Marketing Group, there are five factors impacting the use of color in any design project:

  1. Color Physics – the interaction of the object, the light source and the observer. If you have a color that will be viewed on outdoor signage and inside a restaurant under candlelight, you may want to increase the saturation of the color to be viewed by candlelight.
  2. Color Psychology – there is much disagreement on the meaning of different colors. Red can be loving and sexy, but it can also evoke carnage and danger. So, color + context is important.
  3. Color Influence and Forecasting – color forecasting incorporates larger influences such as politics, medicine and culture. Several years ago, as the political environment started to heat up and social issues sparked polarization, colors tended to go “angry”. They were aggressive and bold. Today, people are growing weary of the “shouting” and colors are becoming warmer and richer.
  4. Color Fads, Trends and Cycles – watch the New York runways and the Hollywood red carpet, as fashion designers are often harbingers of the trends that eventually reach marketing.
  5. Color and Culture – design trends are influenced by the culture around us. The design palettes of Philadelphia are as influenced by the richness of its historic architecture as they are by the Philadelphia Eagles’ green jerseys.

Color Wheel Pro reports the meaning of specific colors:

  • Red – fire, blood, energy, war, danger, strength, power, passion, desire and love
  • Orange – joy, sunshine, enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity and encouragement
  • Yellow – joy happiness, intellect and energy
  • Green – growth, harmony, freshness and fertility. Dark green is associated with money.
  • Blue – depth, stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth and heaven
  • Purple – royalty, power, nobility, luxury and ambition
  • White – light, goodness, innocence, purity and virginity
  • Black – power, elegance, formality, death, evil and mystery

You can see by some of the contradictory meanings, that context is important also. But, make no mistake, color can be very important in your marketing. In study called “Impact of Color in Marketing”, researchers found that up to 90% of snap judgments made about products can be based on color alone, depending on the product.

And, the study “Exciting Red and Competent Blue” confirms that intent to purchase is greatly affected by colors due to the impact they have on how a brand is perceived.

About Debbie Simpson

President of Multi-Craft in Newport, Kentucky.
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