Color of the Year
Ever since Pantone began announcing a color of the year (COTY) in 1999, the practice has caught fire. Today, more and more brands have been forecasting and promoting their own unique COTY shades. Is there a science behind their selection process? Keep reading to find out how they do it.
They Observe Culture
“Our color marketing team reviews trends in fashion, architecture, design, pop culture, travel, and many other areas, all of which help inspire the color forecast we ultimately land on,” says Erika Woelfel, vice president of color and creative services at Behr. “Each color of the year tells a story that’s tied to micro and macro trends we’re seeing.”
They Travel the World
Representatives from Benjamin Moore spend “months researching and traveling around the world.…Then the next step is bringing that information back and determining what the common threads are between these different disciplines and areas of the world,” explains Andrea Magno, a color and design expert at the company.
They Surf Pinterest
They Talk…a Lot
Choosing a color of the year often sparks intense debate, according to Sue Wadden, director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams: “We get together and talk about our findings and pinpoint standout colors. It’s a really intense and fun process.”
Paint brands time their COTY announcement very precisely. Benjamin Moore releases its choice in October, when the New York Fall Design Market is in full swing. Sherwin-Williams builds anticipation all year long by sharing a Colormix Forecast in the spring, from which a single COTY is chosen later in the year.
For Ashley Banbury, senior color designer at Pratt & Lambert, the COTY process is personal: “Ultimately, what differentiates me from other color designers is my own lens, through which I interpret what I see. I craft a story around color and determine ways to integrate that story into your home.”
It’s About You Too
Decisions Are Emotional
“We recognized that in today’s anxious, technology-driven society, many of us are feeling overwhelmed and craving a sense of peace and reassurance,” observes Dee Schlotter, senior color manager at PPG. Sue Wadden of Sherwin-Williams affirms: “We discovered that 2020 will see more focus on wellness and being your best self.”
This Year, It’s Good to Be Blue
At least three brands have selected shades of blue for their 2020 color of the year: Pantone went with Classic Navy, PPG chose Chinese Porcelain, and Sherwin-Williams selected Naval. “The rich hue creates a calm and grounding environment drawn from the infinite night sky and the mysterious depths of the sea,” says Sue Wadden of Sherwin-Williams.
COTY Leads to Profits
Believe it or not, even with the vast number of paint color options available, a select handful of hues surpass all the others in popularity. We spoke with industry experts to uncover their best sellers. Click to view now!