Classic blue? More like corporate blue.
If Pantone’s color of the year 2020 looks pretty familiar, that’s because this hue appears very similar to the shade used for Ford F, -0.50% and Facebook’s FB, +0.12% logos, not to mention blueberries, Pepsi PEP, -0.33% cans and the banners on Visa’s VISA, -0.33% webpage.
Pantone 19-4502 Classic Blue has been selected to usher in the next decade as a “reassuring presence” in these troubled times, and as a symbol of “protection, stability, peace, and confidence, as well as encouraging deep thinking, open mindfulness and communication,” according to Pantone’s announcement on Wednesday night.
“We are living in a time that requires trust and faith. It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, in a statement.
Classic blue for 2020 also serves as a neat bookend to the first “color of the year” of the last decade: cerulean, which was selected in 2000.
Paint brand PPG Architectural Coatings North America named a similar shade its color of the year for 2020. The blend of cobalt and ink blue, which it describes as “Chinese Porcelain,” is an escape from “today’s technologically-driven society,” according to its own color of the year announcement.
“Blue is the easiest possible entry point from the world of neutrals to the world of color, and PPG’s Chinese Porcelain delivers the energy and brightness of cobalt blue – a trending hue taking the automotive, consumer electronics and fashion industry by storm,” said Dee Schlotter, senior color manager at PPG in a statement. “It also incorporates the enveloping of a deep, muted navy tone that is popular in residential and hospitality design.”
Of course, many people are putting their own spin on Pantone’s blue period, especially with the contentious 2020 presidential election on the horizon, and even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump. (Blue is the Democrats’ color, after all.)
Still others attributed the color to pop culture icons; it’s favored by K-Pop artists Super Junior, and has painted singer Billie Eilish’s locks. It’s also the color of the police call box-turned-time machine from BBC’s “Doctor Who” series.
And NFL fans might find that it’s pretty close to the blue of the Indianapolis Colts’ jerseys.
But like any Pantone pick, it has also drawn a lot of shade from critics, with outlets like Jezebel and Ad Age calling it “boring” — especially after 2019’s color of the year, a vibrant “living coral.”
“Ehhhhhh a slightly darker shade of Facebook blue is not super inspiring. I was really anticipating a bright orange or yellow to start the decade off with a bang,” one person wrote on Pantone’s Facebook post announcing the color.
Then again, maybe “boring” is good, for a change.
“Sometimes you just gotta get back to the basics,” wrote another commentator on Pantone’s post. “That’s what we all need right now. Love this choice.”
Color expert and consultant Kate Smith told MarketWatch that these blue waters run deep. “Anytime our world is short on good news, people are drawn to colors that make them feel better and more hopeful,” she said. “After the financial crash, we saw a desire for optimistic bright colors. Now we are more cautious and feel a need for color but need something more stable and trusted. Blue — the color most often named as a favorite of both men and women — fills the bill perfectly.
“Dark blue has no gender, no agenda, no controversy,” she added. “Who wouldn’t want to blanket themselves in this accepting color when what most of us need more than anything is a restful night’s sleep and sweet dreams for tomorrow?”