January 8, 2020

After a tumultuous end to the decade, Pantone is hoping to usher in the new year with an air of calm, carrying the theme across all five senses for the first time.

Pantone has revealed its new Colour of the Year, Classic Blue, which is said to evoke stability, familiarity, and reflection. It comes at a “time that requires trust and faith,” according to Pantone’s executive director Leatrice Eiseman, and represents “a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on.”

For the first time, the Colour of the Year is also going deeper than sight, adopting a multi-sensory approach that draws on sound, texture, taste and scent too.

The sound of Classic Blue was developed in partnership with Audio UX, and is said to take us to comforting, nostalgic places. The Inside helped to develop the soft, velvety texture that represents Classic Blue, while Firmenich worked on the “gentle and elegant” taste and a scent that evokes blue waters, sea salt and airy skies as a symbol of optimism.

Pantone tends to stir up interest when it releases a new Colour of the Year, likely because colour has come to play such a pivotal role in creative expression, as well as a symbol of our beliefs. Yet Classic Blue feels remarkably safe compared to previous years – which have included the playful Living Coralfrom last year and 2018’s cosmic-themed Ultra Violet hue – and perhaps explains the multi-sensory approach this time around.

While Classic Blue might not feel like the most inspiring choice from Pantone, it evidently marks an attempt to tap into our collective need for reassurance and familiarity in these trying times.

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