Pantone *Color of the Year 2011: HONEYSUCKLE* - Plus a Look Back at 10 Years of Color Choices
Vibrant & energetic, reddish/pink Honeysuckle (PANTONE® 18-2120) is encouraging and uplifting. "It elevates our psyche beyond escape," explain the global color experts at Pantone, "instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life." Unlike 2010's color of the Year, Turquoise, which served as an escape (think the alluring blues of a Caribbean beach vacay), Honeysuckle is about emboldening us to face everyday life with verve and vigor. (It also figures prominently in the Spring 2011 Fashion Color Palette.) "In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues," notes Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "Honeysuckle derives its positive qualities from a powerful bond to its mother color red, the most physical, viscerally alive hue in the spectrum. The intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages. In fact, this color, not the sweet fragrance of the flower blossoms for which it was named, is what attracts hummingbirds to nectar. Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer."
Wearing this striking, eye-catching hue makes anyone look healthier and happier, whether it's as a dress, in a tie, a shirt, or out on the town as an antidote to a sea of LBDs. Pantone also suggests bringing it home as throw pillows, bedspreads, small appliances, tabletop accessories - or, maybe best of all, a new coat of paint to cheer up a hallway or room in your crib.
Ever wondered why certain colors hit a high note while others fall flat? Why products in one color fly off the shelves, while other hues are left to languish? "When it comes to color preferences, a lot of factors come into play," explains Eiseman about what drives how we respond to color. "The choices we make in color are not as objective as we may think. Beginning at infancy, through the developmental stage and ultimately as adults, our upbringing, experiences and surroundings all play a part in determining what colors we are drawn to." Since colors reflect what's under our collective skin - not to mention, reflecting geography, culture, emotion, association, trends, personal associations and even temperature - here's a fun look back at the emotional temperature of the first ten years of the new millenium, as told through the kaleidoscope of Color of the Year:
2010: TURQUOISE "In many cultures, Turquoise occupies a very special position in the world of color," notes Eiseman. "It is believed to be a protective talisman, a color of deep compassion and healing, and a color of faith and truth, inspired by water and sky. Through years of color word-association studies, we also find that Turquoise represents an escape to many – taking them to a tropical paradise that is pleasant and inviting, even if only a fantasy."
2009: MIMOSA Vincent Van Gogh once remarked about his favorite hue that "yellow is capable of charming god." According to Eiseman: "The color yellow exemplifies the warmth and nurturing quality of the sun, properties we as humans are naturally drawn to for reassurance. Mimosa also speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation." (Our take? The cocktail-inspired touches on our Sex & the City obsession with shoes, booze, and living La Dolce Faaaaaabulous.)
2008: BLUE IRIS "From a color forecasting perspective, we have chosen Blue Iris as the color of the year, as it best represents color direction in 2008 for fashion, cosmetics and home products," Eiseman explained at the time. "As a reflection of the times, Blue Iris brings together the dependable aspect of blue, underscored by a strong, soul-searching purple cast. Emotionally, it is anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic. Look for it artfully combined with deeper plums, red-browns, yellow-greens, grapes and grays."
2007: CHILI PEPPER "Whether expressing danger, celebration, love or passion, red will not be ignored," said Eiseman at the end of 2006. "In 2007, there is an awareness of the melding of diverse cultural influences, and Chili Pepper is a reflection of exotic tastes both on the tongue and to the eye. Nothing reflects the spirit of adventure more than the color red. At the same time, Chili Pepper speaks to a certain level of confidence and taste." Lisa Herbert, the executive VP of the Fashion, Home & Interiors division at Pantone concurred: "In 2007, we’re going to see people making greater strides toward expressing their individuality. The color red makes a bold statement. We’re seeing shifts in people’s opinions on current events and major changes in the way they are expressing themselves through new technology. People are open to the possibilities of the future and Chili Pepper celebrates that."
2006: SAND DOLLAR According to Eiseman: "Color this season is toned down, more muted – they’re not pastels, not brights, but a nuance in-between. We see this relaxation in the prevalence of blues, neutrals, and the classicism of black and white. Designers are still having fun, but don’t need the stridency."
2005: BLUE TURQUOISE Simultaneously evoking the Mediterranean Sea and the American Southwest, soft Blue Turquoise was spotted as a checked coat at Marc Jacobs, a ruffled gown at Michael Kors, a sporty tank dress at Narciso Rodriguez, cowgirl jackets at Anna Sui, and a satin gown printed with swimmers at Carolina Herrera. "The mix is dramatic - like throwing confetti and seeing where it lands," observed Eiseman. "You could make combinations of any of these colors - the rulebook has been thrown out the window."
2004: TIGERLILY "It's as if we're all trying to get someplace to find some solace," illuminated Eiseman. "Opulent pleasure is downplayed and the raucous is abandoned in favor of restful calm. We all seem to be looking for our country escapes...People are continuing to simplify their lives, paring down but still surrounding themselves with the familiar and things that will last," she continued. "In 2004, we're seeing the subtle evolution of color with some surprising twists. It's not just a retreat into organic colors and leaving it at that."
2003: AQUA SKY Words such as "extravagant" and "shocking" were being replaced by "real" and "comforting" with a noticeable calming of color, especially in the area of home decor hues - which tend to closely parallel the fashion market. "The overall forecast for 2003 is one of more muted, traditional and classic shades," predicted Eiseman. "What we are seeing is a clear sign that now, more than ever, people are turning to their homes as havens. We are spending more and more time at home, and relying on where we live for warmth and comfort. In terms of color, that means shades that are traditional and familiar - classic, not flashy or trendy."
2002: TRUE RED "What do the colors Red, White and Blue evoke in your mind? If you're like most Americans, they're the quintessential colors of patriotism - the colors of our flag," the Pantone experts explained. In our brand-obsessed society, the dominant colors also reflect economic realities. "For many companies, color is synonymous with their name," explained Richard Herbert, President of Pantone. "Think Barbie Pink, UPS Brown, Coca-Cola Red, Home Depot Orange and 3M Post-It Canary Yellow. To be successful, brands have to offer consistency and reliability and be distinguishable from other goods and services. Keeping that color consistent in products, packaging and communications in every media is imperative to maintaining the brand's identity, visually reinforcing who they are and what they do. Many companies even go as far as to trademark their signature colors." (Ever wondered why we wear red on Valentine's Day? CLICK HERE for the answer!)
2001: FUCHSIA ROSE "Until recently, brown has been thought of as a utilitarian and earthy color, but now there is an entirely new take on it – people are seeing brown as rich and elegant," noted Eiseman about the popular fashion colors chosen by designers. "This started in the '90s with all the robust coffee colors and now again in 2001 with the deliciously decadent colors of chocolate." Many of the Fall 2001 runways were noticeably muted, and balancing off all that chocolate brown were subtle shades of gray, dark blue, moss green and deep violet - like Fuchsia Rose.
2000: CERULEAN The sky on a serene, crystal-clear day inspired the choice of the official color of the millenium. "Psychologically, gazing at a blue sky brings a sense of peace and tranquillity to the human spirit," explained Eiseman about this universally-appealing shade which is the leading favorite color for designers & consumers, both, regardless of culture, gender, or geographic origin. "Sky blue is imprinted in our psyches as a retiring, quiescent color. Surrounding yourself with Cerulean blue could bring on a certain peace because it reminds you of time spent outdoors, on a beach, near the water - associations with restful, peaceful, relaxing times. In addition, it makes the unknown a little less frightening because the sky, which is a presence in our lives every day, is a constant and is always there. That's the dependability factor of blue." As we entered a new millenium, we found ourselves uncertain - and yet excited - and attempted to hold onto the security of the past while anticipating spiritual fulfillment in the brave new future, despite growing worries about the earth. "Socio-ecologically, as we enter the next century, water issues are emerging at the forefront of the public's consciousness. Exhausting our natural resources and polluting our environment, particularly our water supply, continues to be a concern, another reason for the popularity of blue for the future...In this stressful, high-tech era, we will be searching for solace and Cerulean Blue produces the perfect calming effect."
- Lesley Scott