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30 Jan 2015

Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2015 ‘Pantone 18-1438’; will it influence product design in 2015?

Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2015 ‘Pantone 18-1438’; will it influence product design in 2015?

Every year, for the last 15 years, colour standards giant Pantone announce their ‘Colour of the Year’, with creative from every corner of the design world, waiting to see what hue will dominate the next 365 days.

This year Pantone decided that the prestigious position of colour of the goes to Pantone 18-1438, otherwise known as ‘Marsala’.  

The colour is described by Pantones Colour Institute’s executive director Leatrice Eiseman as being “much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while it’s grounding red-brown roots emanates a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home finishing’s and interiors”.

But will this colour really have an impact on product design over the course of 2015?

Colour has always played an important role in how culture expresses the attitudes and emotions of the times. With domination of earthy colours in the 1970’s to represent recession and the growing environmental awareness, to the vibrant colours of the 1980’s representing the economic upturn and optimism.

When you look back at each decade, you can clearly see the influence of these representative colours of the times in product design.

However, does one colour influence product design for a year that same way that a colour palette does for a decade?

This is unlikely, though the new ‘colour of the year’ may make a big splash in this year’s spring fashion lines, in terms of industrial design, a year’s fad is unlikely to make a large influence in the colour of the products you see this year.

When it comes to industrial design, each product is carefully planned, designed and produced with the larger picture in mind. These products are produced with the thought ‘what will customers want one year from now? What will customers still want two years from now?’

For example, last year’s Colour of the Year was Radiant Orchid, a chirpy shade of lilac, but when you look back over 2014, was there a large influx of lilac products on the market? The answer is no.

Let’s just say that, this year we are unlikely to be producing a large number of Marsala coloured membrane keyboards, graphics overlays and screen printed labels

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