Skip to main content

M3 Blog

Preaching the Blues in 2020

I’ll have a blue Christmas without hue.

If you were singing the holiday blues last month, you were in good company. In fact, you might even be able to call yourself a visionary.

Every December, Pantone throws some shade on product development and purchasing decisions by announcing its Color of the Year for the approaching 365-day cycle. The selection that will help shape marketing minds for 2020 is – drum roll please – 19-4052 Classic Blue.

But what does this mean and why is it important – or is it even important at all?

First things first: What is Pantone? The New Jersey-headquartered company provides a universal language of color that enables color-critical decisions through every stage of the workflow for brands and manufacturers. According to the company’s website, “In 1963, Pantone revolutionized the printing industry with the colorful Pantone Matching System, an innovative tool allowing for the faithful selection, articulation and reproduction of consistent, accurate color anywhere in the world. The tool organizes color standards through a proprietary numbering system and chip format, which have since become iconic to the Pantone brand. Pantone’s color language supports all color-conscious industries— textiles, apparel, beauty, interiors, architectural and industrial design—encompassing over 10,000 color standards across multiple materials including printing, textiles, plastics, pigments and coatings.”

Since 2000, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced decision-makers in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, industrial design, and product packaging and graphic design. The Pantone Color of the Year selection process includes thoughtful consideration and analysis, with color experts at the Pantone Color Institute scanning the world looking for new color influences to determine the color that best captures the prevailing attitudes and reflections of the coming year.

“They put a lot of research into it and try to establish design trends as well as overall trends,” said Lauren Brumbach, one of the team of graphic designers that delivers unique insight and vision for the clients of M3 Group.

The selection of Classic Blue as the 2020 Color of the Year helps signal the dawn of a new decade and the opportunity for a clean slate, Brumbach noted.

“Blue often means loyalty, a fresh start. … It’s kind of saying that 2020 is a year of revitalization,” she noted. “It’s something fun for designers to pay attention to and stay on trend.”

Although Pantone’s Color of the Year will, indeed, influence the design and marketing decisions for some businesses, one a broader stage it serves to showcase the importance of color selection in conveying specific information to the end user.

“What I like to take away from looking at the decisions by Pantone is the color theory behind it … the general psychological aspects behind it – what it means, how it makes you feel, what it represents,” Brumbach said.

The color blue conjures feelings of relaxation, peace and compassion, she noted, while green can signify new life or growth and red can stir sentiments of warning, boldness and anger. It’s a demonstration of how color can wordlessly convey a message and meaning, as well as subliminally evoke specific emotional responses and shape the way we think about something.

“Most design usually is subconscious,” Brumbach said. “What’s interesting about Pantone is they think about all those things and how it plays into trends for the coming year. … As a designer, I think it’s more something to keep in the back of your mind in the design world.”

As a business owner, color selection should be a more front-of-mind consideration when creating a marketing and branding plan. As Brumbach noted, the choices you make will be a significant component in how you are perceived by consumers

“I think it’s important for them to be aware that there is a lot of color choice and realize how big the color world is,” she said.