Pantone's 2020 Color of the Year is unexpected for a simple, paradoxical reason—it's one you see everywhere. The just-debuted shade is titled 19-4052 Classic Blue, and it's exactly what its name implies: traditional. It's timeless, dependable, and enduring, namely for its universality (we experience this color every day, as the sky darkens at dusk).
Each year, Pantone reveals a color—born out of months of global research—that speaks to the times across a myriad of categories, from fashion and technology to interior design. The overarching message behind Classic Blue? "We are living in a time that requires trust and faith," Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, explained in a statement. "It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed in [this shade], a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on."
Courtesy of Pantone
The color itself is an "anchoring foundation," said Eiseman, that plays well with a mix of hues; in other words, it's a new-age neutral. This idea speaks to Classic Blue's vibe—one of stability. It's depth, however, also encourages us to be bold. Both soothing and energizing, the color encourages us to look inward while also challenging us to think more deeply.
To explore the boundless shade's every facet, Pantone took a different approach to its ideation this year: The Color Institute teamed up with an entire roster of partners, including TEALEAVES and Audio UX, to create a multi-sensory experience, so you can hear, smell, taste, and feel the shade—not just see it. This feels appropriate for a color that marks a new decade, which was part of the reasoning behind the experiment, noted Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute. "This desire, combined with the emotional properties of PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue, motivated us to expand beyond the visual, to bring the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year to life through a multi-sensory experience," she said.
Ultimately, it's easy to understand why Pantone landed on this boundless shade. In this over-connected world, we're gravitating more towards colors that offer protection—which is why the color, which connotes comfort, makes perfect sense in the context of your home, something Pressman hopes will resonate with the creatives who design them: "As society continues to recognize color as a critical form of communication, and a way to express and affect ideas and emotions, designers and brands should feel inspired to use color to engage and connect."