Each spring, flower buds open, and beautiful flowers bloom. Likewise, it's also time for Pantone's Color of the Year! With this announcement, the UX/UI Design world got Peach Fuzz as the color for the upcoming year, 2024. Now, designers can use this vibrant color to create beautiful User Interfaces and enhance User Experiences. But what makes this year's single color different? How can designers leverage the impact of color chosen for the products we use, love, and share? To find answers, we'll explore how this color can influence UX/UI decisions. Let's dive in!
What is Pantone?
Mervin and Jesse Levine started what's today known as Pantone in New Jersey in the 1950s. These two brothers aimed to organize and streamline the company's pigment inventory and ink production. Today, Pantone is a widely known and used proprietary color-matching system.
One of its main products is its Standardized Color Repertoire. Pantone provides a standardized set of colors with unique identifiers, ensuring consistency across different applications and industries. Likewise, and mainly used in the digital design and manufacturing industries, its Pantone Matching System (PMS) allows users to reproduce specific colors accurately regardless of used equipment or materials. While it's most known in printing and graphic design, Pantone colors are also used in manufacturing colored paint, fabrics, and plastics.
Over the years, Pantone has become an indispensable tool for ensuring color consistency while influencing trends and branding.
What is Pantone Color of the Year?
A key element within Pantone processes concerns its Color of the Year. These yearly-chosen bold colors highlight what is expected to be popular in the upcoming year. The venture makes its decision based on trends in fashion, art, design, and social and economic conditions. But how does Pantone choose the Color of the Year? Choosing its yearly color starts with a thorough analysis. The process considers different color combinations in several areas and socio-economic conditions. After narrowing its scope, the selected team dives deeper into the color psychology and potential impacts to come out with the chosen color for each year.
Pantone's Color of the Year Over Time
Pantone Color of the Year 2019: Living Coral
The Color of the Year 2019 was Living Coral. This bright and vibrant color aimed to evoke "comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment." Likewise, this trend color sought to showcast users' desire for warm connections in a sometimes cold world. The color made a stellar appearance in several applications, from social media platforms to fashion and accessories, as a "warm and welcoming shade that invites us to reach out and touch." It was used as a main color and to add color to minimalist designs as an accent color.
Pantone Color of the Year 2020: Classic Blue
In great contrast with its predecessor, Pantone announced Classic Blue as the color of the Year 2020. Deeply rooted in elegance and simplicity, the choice wanted to infuse confidence and calm while "highlighting our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build." This variation of a primary color had a remarkable highlight as an element of personal expression in fashion, home decor, and packaging worldwide. As a result, designers harnessed it for both physical and digital platforms to boost ideas of security and professionalism in their UX/UI designs. Likewise, it has also been used to establish visual hierarchy.
Pantone Color of the Year 2021: Ultimate Gray
While Ultimate Gray was defined as the Color of the Year for 2021, that year had two chosen ones merged in a marvelous color combination. In a difficult year worldwide, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating rose together to show "how different elements come together to support one another." The blend of these so-called different colors provided a remarkable mixture of sobriety and positivity. Similarly, the feeling of thoughtfulness was key to this choice. Pantone Connect expresses, "The combination of Ultimate Gray and Illuminating is aspirational and gives us hope." These colors starred in several applications, especially multi-media design, due to their foundation of reliability, wisdom, and experience.
Pantone Color of the Year 2022: Very Peri
The shade Very Peri was Color of the Year in 2022. This captivating blend of periwinkle blue with a hint of violet-red undertone embodies both the reliability of blue and the vigor of red. Pantone introduced Very Peri as a representation of the intermingling of modern life and how digital color trends and the physical world influence each other. Yet, with Very Peri's purple shade, Pantone Connect also presented four color palettes to enjoy this hue in different applications. The palettes, Balancing Act, Wellspring, The Star of the Show, and Amusements, conveyed different moods while depicting Very Peri's versatility. In real-life applications, these color wheels were key to showing several emotions based on the idea of connecting people.
Pantone Color of the Year 2023: Viva Magenta
Lastly, the color of 2023 —this year, for only a couple of days!— was Viva Magenta. This shade of red, full of energy and vibrancy, has roots in nature. Likewise, its expression focuses on signaling different kinds of strength. In this context, Pantone described Viva Magenda as "brave and fearless," with a focus on freedom of expression and a sense of joy and optimism. During 2023, this color helped UX/UI designers and companies to evoke emotions while also drawing attention to the essential elements of each product.
Pantone Color of the Year 2024: Peach Fuzz
Evoking fuzzy feelings, Pantone announced, last Dec. 7th, Peach Fuzz as 2024's Color of the Year. And, like in previous years, it also includes five different color harmonies. These palettes, called Libations, Flavor-Full, Hybrid Hues, Peach Plethora, and Pairings, offer several combinations to make the most of this year's color. Behind the choice, according to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director at Pantone Color Institute, is the "desire to nurture ourselves and others." This gentle peach tone blends modernity and warmth, aiming to "effortlessly bridge the youthful with the timeless."
The Impact of Pantone's Color of the Year
The mentioned spring has already bloomed, and it's time to understand how this promising color and others can affect the UX/UI design. Although the Pantone Color of the Year does not have the power to dictate design trends, it does serve as a starting point for designers to venture into new color palettes and experiment with fresh hues.
In addition, it inspires designers to challenge the norms of design and think creatively. Pantone Color of the Year offers creatives in all fields an opportunity to explore how various colors can impact their brand expression, customer engagement, and the culture that the color evokes.
First, the Color of the Year is an excellent way to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the design world, and that's why many people associate it with the birth of new directions for the upcoming year. Further, it can give designers a starting point for their color palettes and help them create relevant and modern designs. The Color of the Year is also a great way to inspire creativity and encourage designers to think outside the box!
Similarly, Pantone's Color of the Year significantly shapes UX/UI and Product Design! The color wheel of Pantone and its active scouring to find new influences is key for designers and teams to understand their users' thought processes and further interactions with products. And Peach Fuzz is a great example of it! This color adds much-needed comfort and coziness with an enlightening spirit. Undoubtedly, its calming effects will be key to ensuring positive User Experiences across digital products!
Do's and Don'ts for Applying Pantone COTY
Harnessing the Pantone Matching System can be key to a successful production process. However, we know that this decision is not an easy duty. And, to guide you through this journey, here are some dos and don'ts from our very own Design Team!
The Do's for Pantone Color of the Year
1. Play with the Color of the Year as a foundation for the color palette of your products.
2. Achieve a cohesive brand image by integrating the Color of the Year into your products.
3. Use the Color of the Year to establish a connection between your brand and the latest trends in color and design.
The Don'ts for Pantone Color of the Year
1. Avoid making your designs look outdated by overusing the Color of the Year.
2. If the Color of the Year does not fit your brand's image or values, it's best to avoid using it.
3. Don't prioritize adding the Color of the Year to your brand or product over key elements such as accessibility.
Keeping up with the latest color and design trends is crucial for UX/UI and Product Design. In this context, Pantone is a valuable tool! Designers can use the Color of the Year as a starting point to create modern, accessible, and up-to-date products. In 2024, Peach Fuzz will be key for businesses to upgrade their branding by fostering a sense of comfort and coziness that resonates with their customers. Are you ready to get that fuzzy feeling?