Looking to pick a new color scheme for your company’s logo, workspace, packaging or web presence? Right now, the trendiest hues are all about tranquility and fluidity, according to Pantone, the standardized color system that has annually selected a Color of the Year since 1999.
For the first time, Pantone has selected two Colors of the Year after combing the world for hues it says are poised to represent 2016: Rose Quartz (Pantone 13-1520), a soft pink shade, and Serenity (Pantone 15-3919), a cool pastel blue.
Pantone describes its decision thusly: “As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to the stress of modern day lives, welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill the yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent.”
Indeed, the muted shades represent a marked departure from past winners, including last year’s red-brown Marsala or 2014’s Radiant Orchid, a bright, “purply” pink.
Certain startups have recently embraced a softer look, including Airbnb, which opted for a coral-pink symbol last year — albeit one that evoked various forms of anatomy for many commenters — and Foursquare, which added a pink ‘F’ to its logo that is meant to look like a combination of a map pin and a superhero emblem.
Pantone also claims that its choice was inspired by sociological trends — most notably “a gender blur as it relates to fashion” among younger generations, according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. The selection of two traditionally male and female colors in muted, complementary tones signifies a “more unilateral approach to color [that] is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity,” she says.