Distinctify's Early Predictions For Pantone's 2019 Colour Of The Year

Distinctify's Early Predictions For Pantone's 2019 Colour Of The Year
Photography credit to Pinterest

For the last two years, Pantone has released their colour of the year choices to shockwaves reverberating through the design world. Ultra Violet seemed so entirely unpredictable as the choice for 2018 people questioned whether or not the decision had been made purely with the intention to shock. 2017’s shade, Greenery, was nicknamed ‘Kermit Green’, which, if we’re honest, is not entirely complementary and left a lot of people scratching their heads. Was the sole intention of the Pantone colour of the year to be shocking and unpredictable? Was there any motivation behind these colours or were they just another colour?

Given that the Pantone colour of the year has become a staple of trend predictions for the upcoming year, influencing everything from food to fashion, there must surely be something more to the process than a blindfolded point. According to the testimonies that the company released along with the colour, there is a great deal more.

Pantone refers to the colour of the year as ‘a colour snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.’ Greenery, for instance, represented new beginnings, a refreshing and revitalizing shade for spring. It was symbolic of the pursuit of personal passions and vitality. In a time of great political unrest, Greenery served as a life-affirming reminder to seize fresh opportunities and utilise personal expression. The colour was also supposed to encourage people to explore life away from technology and embrace the natural world.

At the other end of the spectrum, Ultra Violet is bold, loud and individualistic. Pantone called it “symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance.” It celebrated non-conformity and self-expression. It pushed people to explore their individual inventiveness and creativity and to examine their own personal mark on the world. In a year where the American youth mobilised against gun crime, women rallied against inequality and Ireland repealed the eighth amendment it’s clear to see how Pantone’s colour predictions have come to mean more than just what is trending and become their own form of social commentary.

All this, however, revolves around our ability to contextualise colour. Individual association to a singular colour can be varied based on the context it was viewed in, cultural representation of it and personal taste. Pantone is faced with the challenge every year of choosing a colour that is both socially conscious as well as tailored to trend and taste. With this in mind, the Distinctify team have given it a go. Each member submitted their predictions and consequent reasonings for 2019’s colour of the year (admittedly, there is also a wager going around the office) to put ourselves in the shoes of the experts.

Harriet (Sales and Marketing Administrator) - Bruschetta

Harriet (Sales and Marketing Administrator) - Bruschetta
Photography credit to Pantone

“Admittedly, I get most of my interior design inspiration from the Accidentally Wes Anderson Instagram page. But you don’t have to be into Hollywood cinematography to see that Terracotta tones no longer just apply to plant pots.

Bruschetta has a very classic feel to it. Originally a fired clay material, it has a warm, earthy and natural look. The burnt orange hue often found with a brown or a pink tone, is actually very easy to match colours to. Rich marine blues, forest greens and ever-popular blush pinks work perfectly with the variable orange shade. It’s a pivotal colour within Mediterranean design schemes.

Colour palettes drawn from nature and found in our natural environment help to ground us, drawing us out of our robotic lives behind a screen. Recently, we’ve certainly seen a staggering increase in care for agriculture. This seems to me to be extremely prevalent considering recent natural disasters and the worrying denial of global warming from prominent political figures. Terracotta as colour of the year would encapsulate the current natural consciousness.”

Thomas (Founder) - Medieval Blue

Thomas (Founder) - Medieval blue, Distinctify
Photography credit to Pantone

“My wife and I have just ordered a chair in marine blue, so I might be a bit biased towards it. But that’s not to suggest it isn’t a great colour. Marine is a really interesting colour. I think even as a wall shade it has a texture to it. It changes quite drastically in different lighting. For such a dark colour, it carries a real vibrancy to it.

It’s a really great shade for upholstery. In particular, there’s just something about marine blue velvet. Unlike lighter toned velvet the sheen that it gives off isn’t overwhelming; it’s a subtle touch of luxury and elegance. It really makes an impression when you combine it with brushed brass accents that have taken over from paler, less dazzling finishes.

Overall, I think it’s striking. It feels bold, but not unapproachable. It’s the kind of bold that everyone can get involved with. I think 2019 will be the year of being more opinionated and braver with your choices. We can already see that more people are standing up and using their voices. Pantone should choose a striking tone, that represents everyone, to showcase the year of being bolder.”

Lewis (Marketing Executive) - Gray Lilac

Lewis (Marketing Executive) - Gray Lilac, Distinctify
Photography credit to Pantone

“I’ll be honest and admit I picked it mostly because I just liked it. I think that’s a good thing, though. I think working in my role you see a lot on social media and it makes you quite susceptible to trends. I think following your gut with these things can often be a really good way of knowing what’s coming.

In 2016, Serenity was colour of the year but it was chosen alongside Rose Quartz. It’s been a while since we saw a paler, more pastel-hued colour take the title. Pantone often tends to deal in dichotomies, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they chose to go for something totally oppositional to this year's Ultra Violet. This lilac tinted grey is a great option because it’s not pale and clinical, but it’s certainly neutral and easy to adapt to design schemes. Gray Lilac is a really soothing and soft tone that it works just as well in traditional interiors as it does in contemporary ones.

Where previous years have been very bold and in some ways aggressive, you could see a colour like Serenity as a promotion of peace. It’s fair to say that the past year has certainly been one for the history books. This year a more peaceful, but positive outlook wouldn’t go amiss.”

Kersi (Managing Director) - Red Dahlia

Kersi (Managing Director) - Red Dahlia, Distinctify
Photography credit Pantone

“When you look at things that are trending now, you can already see pockets of this colour emerging. I think it’s always best to look at how people accessorize their homes to see rising trends. People experiment on a smaller scale with less significant pieces within their home before they commit to using it on a large scale, like wall paint.

People are less afraid of using bold, deep and sometimes moody shades in their homes now. They’ve rebelled against the myth that it makes your home too dark. You can now light your home to your own taste and use colour as you see fit. It has replaced the trend of painting all your walls a clinical white colour and accessorizing within the room. Mulberry red is a really romantic tone, it's a smooth jewel-toned colour that we haven’t seen used by Pantone for a few years. We’ve seen a real interest in jewel tones since velvet upholstery made a comeback. Throughout the noughties, people thought velvet was tacky, but recently it feels very regal and classy.

I think if Pantone had a brave, darker tone as their colour of the year it would really encapsulate the universal culture we’re seeing at the moment of people stepping out of their comfort zone.”

Lisa (Senior Project Design Coordinator) - Spicy Mustard

Lisa (Senior Project Design Coordinator) - Spicy Mustard, Distinctify
Photography credit to Pantone


“I think people can be very dismissive of yellow tones. It’s true that extraordinarily bright yellows can be really difficult to incorporate into design schemes. But with deeper tones, like mustard, you get these lovely brass finishes that are significantly softer.

Mustard yellow has been creeping in for a long time. Accent chairs in mustard yellow and statement pieces really have the ability to make a room. Combined with royal blue in a scheme and offset with a dark charcoal grey these colours really compliment instead of overwhelm each other. Mustard yellow is a great colour for upholstery, as when you add the extra element of texture to it you bring out the brassy accents.

Yellow to me is bold. It means spontaneity. People have a tendency to waste their lives worrying, especially now. I think mustard yellow is a nice dose of sunshine.”

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