Pantone's Color Story 2013

"Green is the most abundant hue in nature - the human eye sees greener than any other color in the spectrum," Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, proudly asserts with the announcement that Emerald is the Pantone color or the year for 2013. And what can this verdant tone offer us in the coming year? Quite a lot, it seems. Both energy and serenity, excitement and calm, mystery and constancy, a sense of tranquility that's at the same time infused with focus and power. Named for the stone signifying rebirth and the arrival of spring, the chosen color of the year and its accompanying earthy complements cast an enlightening hue over our hopes and desires for the coming year. In fact, merely hearing or reading words like "earthy", "ocean", "sage" and "slate"—much less smoothing them over your walls as fresh paint or pulling one over your head in the form of a soft tee, can have a calming, uplifting effect upon the mind.

No less vivacious, but perhaps more serene, Emerald has usurped the reddish orange of 2012. According to Eiseman,"It's also the color of growth, renewal, and prosperity — no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity." And with all the political debate and economic upheaval of 2012, most of us, perhaps, long for more unity. And with "green" being a state of mind in our current culture just as much as an actual color, its present appeal isn't nearly as mysterious as its gemstone allure. With so many things beyond our control, we are focusing on what we can be in command of our efforts to keep our bodies, mind, and the environment in the best shape possible. "Don't expect any far-fetched colors in the New Year," said color group member Hilde Francq of Belgium. "Because of the economic uncertainty, people need pure, natural colors, and that's exactly what they'll get."You'll see more grass green, true yellow, flag red and sand brown — the colors of children's blocks. "People are hungry for something they can count on, and these colors say dependable." This sense of dependable nostalgia will affect everything from vintage-inspired red carpet gowns to sports cars.

For the first time in decades, in fact, the almost completely forgotten brown is making a comeback in the auto industry. According to's color trend report, natural is getting hotter and hotter. "After a revival of the color white it is now time for earthy colors like amber, brown and variations of ‘luxury green' in European car design according to trend watchers of BASF Coatings' international design team. They point out that luxury and sustainability are no longer strangers but go together well." In Germany, in fact, already 12% of new cars are brown. And yahoo's auto blog playfully notes, "But the most enticing color trend, from our perspective, is the return of brown. After all, what could be more compelling to unicorn-riding Rainbow Brites like us than the hue derived — as any child left too long at an easel will readily demonstrate — from combining every shade in the visible spectrum?"

This deep connection between our color and texture choices and their association with the natural world extends even into technology. According to Corinna Sy, designer at BASF Coatings Europe, "We are observing new narrative and haptic qualities in many areas. Heavy substances, striking surfaces and expressive materials such as wood and stone create a stronger emotional charge of the world we live in. In the automotive world, this means that we can expect more intensive colors and bolder effects. The new colors are expressive, but not blatant, like a good story." And notes, "With dark berries, intensive browns and coppers, along with radiant emeralds, the designers anticipate powerful color experiences on the roads."

Off the roads and away from the public eye, what colors are we likely to surround ourselves with in the sanctity of our own homes? The longing for a connection to nature and its rich symbolism continues. According to the Color Marketing Group and Sherwin-Williams, much of interior design will be gravitating towards mineral hues. "Look for the chalky, matte hues represented in mineral deposits, sea-buffed stones and weathered shutters. Picture a marriage between time and nature." And Benjamin Williams's color marketer Jackie Jordan describes her picks as "pastels kicked up a notch," and in the emerald vein, says, "Think of the soft-but-clear uncomplicated colors of semi-precious gems: citrine, peridot, and amethyst."

With its focus on renewal and a connection our natural world, the color story of 2013 is sure to be a revitalizing one, with the stone that has long been the symbol of hope and prosperity gleaming at the heart of it all.

Amy Ha
Amy Ha
Professional, Full-Time Copywriter, and Author

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