Pantone is an important name when it comes to colors. If you were to access their website, you’d find out that The Pantone Color Institute “provides color trend forecasting, color insights and customized color consulting”. Basically, they’re in charge of a lot of chromatic subtleties that most of us probably don’t even think of. And yes, choosing the perfect shades for all sorts of designs is much more complicated than it would seem.

Today’s Institute had a pretty humble beginning back in 1950 when it was founded and, at that time, it was pretty much a commercial printing company. However, in 1956 they hired Lawrence Herbert and he used his chemistry knowledge to optimize the production of inks by systematizing the pigments they used. He started out as a part-time employee, then he turned his division into the most profitable one in the company and he eventually bought the technological assets from his former employer. This is how the Pantone name was born and the success that followed.

But the strongest association people probably make with Pantone is about their standardized coloring system. In the world of design it’s not enough to say red or even a more specific shade of burgundy and then leave things to chance. A standardized coloring system helps manufacturers from different parts of the world to understand exactly what shades they’re supposed to obtain (thus what pigments and how much of them they should use in the process) and getting identical results in the end.

The next important association is surely with the idea of the color of the year, and choosing it is never by chance. It’s always a choice that considers a certain spirit of times, the particularities of those days and observing some very subtle trends, in wide contexts. Well, the Pantone color of 2014 was Radiant Orchid (Pantone 18-3224), a “magical” purple, “complex, interesting, attractive” that shows “creativity and innovation”, grabs attention and “has a meaning”. The reason why they chose it at that particular time was their observation that people tend to admire more and more creative innovation and purple is the perfect metaphor for confidence in one’s own creativity.

The color they chose for 2015 is Marsala (Pantone 18-1438). And much as the wine it was named after, it’s a brownish red, robust and rich, chosen for the purpose of enriching our “minds, bodies and souls”. Marsala is warm and seductive, elegant and bold, impacting both when it stands alone or when it’s only an accent.

As for its use in interior design, Leatrice Eiseman herself, Executive Director at The Pantone Institute, says it’s a perfect shade for kitchens and living rooms, ideal for tabletops and lines throughout the house. Also, when it comes to Marsala and textiles or upholstery it’s a match made in heaven, giving fabrics more richness in texture and luxurious notes.

Basically, “this hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishing and interiors”. So 2015 is already looking interesting! 🙂

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