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The Big Blue Splash

Credit: Pantone.com

Since 2000, Pantone has been selecting the Color of the Year. On its website, pantone.com, you can find information on the color of the year for each year since its inception, although it wasn’t as big an event as it is now. 

In 2000, even designers weren’t paying much attention to the color of the year. As time went on, the announcement became more and more well-known to the general public. Fast forward two decades to the December 4, 2019 announcement of Classic Blue as the 2020 Color of the Year, and every news outlet including CNNTimeFast Company and The New York Times wrote about it. 

And what an announcement it was. Keeping with the current marketing trends, Pantone made it a full-blown experience—blue cocktails, blue food, blue music and a blue fragrance. At the end of the day, the Color of the Year is a marketing opportunity for Pantone, so we can safely assume next year will be an even bigger extravaganza.

The Pantone Color Institute explains “Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.” Traditionally, blues are thought of as calming, peaceful and trustworthy, which is why you see blue used widely in the financial services industry, sometimes making it difficult for firms to stand out in a literal sea of blue.

The selection of Classic Blue makes sense as we enter a new decade—there’s a lot going on around the world! So, it made us wonder: what is the correlation of Pantone’s Color of the Year to the financial markets. For instance, at the end of 2008, what color won? Interestingly enough (to us anyway) the Color of the Year for 2009 was Marigold, chosen because “In a time of economic uncertainty and political change, optimism is paramount and no other color expresses hope and reassurance more than yellow.”

Pantone’s Colors of the Year Against the S&P 500 December 1, 1999 – December 6, 2019