Two Different Hues Win "Color of the Year" 2016

The authority on color breaks conventions to make a statement about gender equality.

by Beckett Mufson
Dec 3 2015, 4:30pm

Images courtesy Pantone

The authority on color has spoken: Pantone's 2016 Color of the Year is...actually two colors: a shade of pink called Rose Quartz and a soft blue called Serenity. Combined, the combination evokes the otherworldly pastels favored by new media artists and candy minimal photographers, as well as the concepts of balance, duality, and peace. Now you know exactly what to wear on a visit to Monaco's Pantone Cafe.

Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute Leatrice Eiseman says the colors also represent the shifting gender identities redefining the fashion world and the world at large. “In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design,” she says. Pink and blue have been relatively gender-specific colors in popular culture for decades. Pantone thus makes a smooth symbolic statement about modern notions of gender fluidity by selecting both of them as a single unit for the Color of the Year. The choice also affirms the power of color in such conversations, empowering creatives to precisely express ideas about ever-changing issues.

“With the whole greater than its individual parts, joined together Serenity and Rose Quartz 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,” Eiseman continues. In conjuction with the announcement, Pantone released an unexpectedly jarring video that cements the place soothing colors have in our generally fearful media cycle. "This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumers’ increased comfort with using color as a form of expression which includes a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged, and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage," she says.

Pantone points out the meaningful uses of Rose Quartz and Serenity in their yearly Fashion Report, and their website offers tips for incorporating it into beauty regimens, interiors, and graphic design as well. The company's color experts decided on Rose Quartz and Serenty after lengthly research into trends from new artists, entertainment icons, and fashion trailblazers from every continent and socioeconomic strata. Last year's color was the deep wine red Marsala, which means that 2016 should be a brighter year—at least as far as Pantone colors are concerned. 

Check out Pantone's recommended color pairings below.

Learn more on Pantone's website.


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rose quartz
Leatrice Eiseman
pantone color institute