Pantone 15-5519: Color of the Year 2010In one of my favorite (because it’s one of the quirkiest) year-end traditions, Pantone has released its 2010 Color of the Year. It’s color 15-5519, colloquially known as “Turquoise.”

For those who aren’t design geeks, Pantone is a company that has striven for color matching since 1963. That is to say, they try to make standards in color. If you took five people to a hardware store and asked them to buy turquoise paint, you’d get five different shades of blue/green. But if you tell someone that something needs to be a certain Pantone color, it will always be that exact color. It’s related to actual pigmentation, rather than digital images – Pantone colors are mixed using actual pigments, not RGM or CMYK values. There are over a thousand designated Pantone colors, and many organizations that have recognizable logos have very strict regulations as to what Pantone colors are used to create that logo. Boise State blue is Pantone “Reflex Blue” and Boise State orange is Pantone #172. The University of Texas uses an orange called Pantone #159.

I love the idea of there being a Color of the Year. It’s such a deliciously arbitrary thing. I mean, who sits around and decides what neutral is the new black? Who gets to decide what color is going to best represent a year that hasn’t even started yet? (Seriously, I want to know, because I want that job.)

They’ve only been doing it for a few years at this point. “Violet tulip” (Pantone #16-3823) was the first Color of the Year, for 2005. I guess 2006 wasn’t a very colorful year, because we didn’t have another CotY until 2007. That year’s color was “Chili Pepper” (Pantone #19-1557); 2008’s was “Blue Iris” (Pantone #18-3943), and this past year’s color has been the irrationally cheery “Mimosa” (Pantone #14-0848).

I like this year’s pick. In fact, the combination of Turquoise and Chili Pepper is one of my favorites – I’ve got an imaginary living room all decked out in those shades. I saw a window display at Pier One once, with a turquoise wall decorated with big chili-colored platters. It’s such a vibrant, beautiful, zesty combination. In fact, some number of years ago I started to set up a website using those colors – it’s just too bad that I never did anything with that website, I guess.

Pantone #15-5519 is bound to appeal to me, though. For one thing, turquoise is my birthstone (or one of them – apparently I can choose between turquoise, tanzanite, blue topaz, and lapis lazuli, depending on which website you trust). And – according to the Pantone “Colorstrology” people, anyway, my “astrological color” is Pagoda Blue (#17-4724), a teal that looks like turquoise’s darker cousin. (The colorstrology page is actually kind of fun – you should check it out.)

Well, when I started to write this, I thought I had a point. It turns out I didn’t. But that’s okay. Not every blog entry has to be a winner, right? 🙂 Have a good one.


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