Skip to main content

Pantone has announced its color of the year for 2020! Read on to learn the psychology behind Classic Blue and previous colors of the year, and how this affects your marketing.

Classic Blue

Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.

Pantone Color of the Year 2020 Classic blue

“Imprinted in our psyches as a restful color, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge. Aiding concentration and bringing laser like clarity, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue re-centers our thoughts. A reflective blue tone, Classic Blue fosters resilience…Non-aggressive and easily relatable, the trusted PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue lends itself to relaxed interaction. Associated with the return of another day, this universal favorite is comfortably embraced,” Pantone says of its newest color of the year.

For marketing, blue is the most universally liked of all colors. Color psychologists found 43% of people associate blue with reliability, 34% with trust, 28% with security, and 20% associate it with high quality. Visually, blue is the slowest color to be processed by your eye, which is how it creates a sense of calm.

Living Coral

An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.

Pantone Color of the Year 2019 Living Coral

For it’s 2019 color of the year, Pantone declared, “Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment…Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.”

Coral is a combination of orange and pink, and it carries the marketing associations for both. Orange is the top color associated with fun. As well as freedom and positivity, it connects the mind to physical comforts, such as warmth and shelter, and emotional comfort through difficult situations. Pink evokes hope, empathy, and sensitivity.

Ultra Violet

Inventive and imaginative, Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.

Pantone Color of the Year 2018 ultra violet

In 2018, Pantone celebrated purple by saying, “A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future. Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now.”

In marketing, purple speaks of imagination, courage, mystery, and magic. It blends the energy of red with the stability of blue. However, using too much purple can cause distraction as it points the mind inward. The long-time association of purple with royalty and luxury doesn’t hold up as much in today’s market.


A refreshing and revitalising shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.

Pantone Color of the Year 2017 Greenery

In 2017, Pantone went au natural, announcing, “Greenery [PANTONE 15-0343] is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew…Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world.”

While green is still associated with nature and growth, it also evokes balance, harmony, and a clear sense of right and wrong. When used in marketing, it can be either emotional or logical. Green is strongly connected to marketing for certain industries, including finance, organic food, and marijuana. Make sure you’re not sending the wrong message with your use of green. (See how J. Crew used greenery.)

Rose Quartz & Serenity

A softer take on color for 2016: For the first time, the blending of two shades – Rose Quartz and Serenity are chosen as the PANTONE Color of the Year.

Pantone Color of the Year 2016 rose quartz and serenity

In 2016, Pantone surprised the marketing world by choosing a pair of colors as the color of the year. Pantone announced, “As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern day stresses, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent. Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.”

Combining colors is a major part of designing any marketing material. PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz and PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity are a red violet and a blue violet. We’d call these “nearly analogous” hues becuase they share the violet undertones. Using a color wheel, one can see how closely they are related.

Pantone Color of the Year and what it means for marketing. Rose quartz and serenity color wheel.


A naturally robust and earthy wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, bodies and souls.

Pantone Color of the Year 2015 Marsala

Way back in 2015, Pantone highlighted an earthtone, saying, “Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. ”

An earthtone is color that’s created by adding brown instead of adding white or black. Earthtones are often described as a little muddy or less saturated. In marketing, earthtones can make a brand feel established and homey, but they’re not a good fit for most online or digital products. In the case of PANTONE 18-1438 Marsala, brown was added to red. According to Empowered by Color, “Brown suppresses the emotions, creating a safe haven from the stresses of the outside world within which problems can be contemplated and solved.” The red adds power and friendliness.

Pantone Color of the Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

Pantone color of the year

So how does the color-giant decide on the color of the year? “The Color of the Year selection process requires thoughtful consideration and trend analysis. To arrive at the selection each year, Pantone’s color experts at the Pantone Color Institute comb the world looking for new color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, playstyles, and socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact color, relevant social media platforms and even up-coming sporting events that capture worldwide attention.”

What do you think of Classic Blue, Pantone’s color of the year 2020? Share with us in the comments!


Leave a Reply

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.