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The Color of 2009: Whatever Pantone Says


I have somewhat of an obsession with colors and their names or designations. Whenever I can get my hands on color guides or paint sample booklets, I snatch them up. For instance, I have boxes full of those Pantone Guide strips; and having worked in the automotive industry, I have literally piles of automotive production color books with samples of all the exterior colors from various cars. I have samples from nearly every year of nearly every major make and model of car. There is something about the classification of color; I’m fascinated with the taxonomic designations and, more importantly, the aesthetic of all the sample colors lined up in neat rectangles with numbers beneath them.

Anyway… Mimosa. Mimosa is the color of the year, according to the “global authority on color”, Pantone. Read on about 2009′s color:


Pantone makes its money by selling color measurement devices and color guides. They provide standardized palettes mostly for design industries: graphics, fashion, textiles, interior design, etc. So their main customers are design folks, people who would be interested in things like the Color of the Year.

But the thing about Pantone’s selection is that it’s meaningless. They write a blurb about the color, like how we need a cheerful hue for these difficult economic times; but really, they could relate any color to anything else. The real reason for the whole spectacle is marketing. The color of the year selection gets the design folks all up in an interested frenzy, talking about Mimosa and mentioning Pantone every time. And with every mention, Pantone becomes more the universal authority on color. Genius marketing, well done.