January 9, 2020

"Suggestive of the sky at dusk, the reassuring qualities of the thought-provoking PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era."

"Imprinted in our psyches as a restful color, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge. Aiding concentration and bringing laser like clarity, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue re-centers our thoughts. A reflective blue tone, Classic Blue fosters resilience. As technology continues to race ahead of the human ability to process it all, it is easy to understand why we gravitate to colors that are honest and offer the promise of protection. Non-aggressive and easily relatable, the trusted PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue lends itself to relaxed interaction. Associated with the return of another day, this universal favorite is comfortably embraced."

Pantone's explanation of its "Color of the Year" for 2020.

Everything's so political nowadays that I can't help reading that as an anti-Trump message. Quite aside from blue's having become the color of the Democratic party, "relatable" seems like a word only Democrats use.

What am I thinking of? Was it all only about Hillary Clinton? See the NYT column from 2015, "Hillary’s Eternal Quest for Relatability." Excerpt:
The thing with “relatable” is that it has become an inside joke, or even a not-so-inside joke. The word was set in lights by “Saturday Night Live” a couple of weeks ago with a sendup in which the former first lady — played by Kate McKinnon.... “Tonight I am speaking to you not as secretary of state, or as a senator or as a first lady,” McKinnon said, “but as a relatable woman on a couch.”...

Late in the “S.N.L.” skit, McKinnon’s Clinton... cackled and added, for good measure, “what a relatable laugh!”... You can imagine Clinton seeing this and wondering whether she is in danger of being buried by a cartoon...
Anyway, I like the idea that a color can help us with "the promise of protection." And a promise — the feeling of a promise — can help us. Colors help us! Pantone is simply telling us what sort of help from colors most of us will be looking for this year. And, if Pantone is right, we don't want excitement. We want calm and reassurance.

I think Trump knows that. He famously tweeted "All is well" just as the more nervous among us were steeling themselves for World War III and the return of the military draft.

But the color most associated with Trump is orange. Orange man bad! And we know that orange is the complete opposite of blue.

60 comments:

Beasts of England said...

It was a close competition this year, but Classic Blue excelled when asked what it would do to end world hunger.

tim in vermont said...

I think we should reinstate the draft. I think that the neocons should have to worry about their own grandkids when playing with fire. We should get out of Iraq. Whose interests are we protecting? The Europeans? The Saudis? Israel's? In this I think Iran is right.

rhhardin said...

Blue privilege.

rhhardin said...

Philosophy's favorite color is grue.

tim in vermont said...

We have taken the mantle of empire from the Brits, well I think we should reject that and take the mantle of the Little Englanders and embrace “Little America.”

tim in vermont said...

But yeah, point taken, there is a heavy admixture of Democrat wishful thinking in that announcement. All awards are political. From romance novels to paint colors.

Mr. Forward said...

I thought the color of the year was chappelle.

JML said...

Also know as "Deep State Blue."

Leland said...

Nothing subtle in Pantone's backing of blue Democrats for 2020.

cf said...

too funny, Althouse. You made me look at the previous years' choices, and it IS funny to see 2016 color choices in that light, "pairing of Rose Quartz and Serenity brings calm and relaxation." Look at their "world problems" video that presents it. Funny/creepy to think they were priming us to be serene while voting for the creepy lady wearing (colorful) tents.

https://www.pantone.com/color-intelligence/color-of-the-year/color-of-the-year-2016

gilbar said...

speaking of Blue; i just hear a Pete Buttifuc commercial, where he tells us that:
Even though the Dow Jones "might" be doing, Okay;
he Knows that people don't judge whether times are good or bad by that!

(according to Pete) EVEN THOUGH, People's wage's "might" be going up...
they're NOT going up fast enough to cover "their health care"

AND SO!

We should VOTE FOR Buttifuc, 'cause (and i'm Quoting here!)...
HE WILL RAISE WAGES!!!!

JMFGDMFC! WHAT world is his advisors living on that THAT is an argument for voting?
people Don't care about the Dow?
wages Might be going up?
Pete will Raise Wages???? so, he's going to raise the minimum wage? that will help?

tim in vermont said...

At leas they didn’t make the color of the year some blend of “peach” and “mint."

cf said...

"suggestive of the sky at dusk", yes, the edge of a very long, dark night.

Tom T. said...

I don't see color.

Heartless Aztec said...

I loved my pantone wheel back in the olden days. Apple Computers killed that one deader than dead.

Roger Sweeny said...

Since you hadn't shown it, I looked up the color on Google Images and found many different shades. Then I went to the Pantone site and found:


Color values:
RGB 15 76 129
HEX/HTML 0F4C81
CMYK 100 76 25 0

Please note that RGB & Hex/HTML values will differ between the PANTONE Color Finder and the PANTONE Color Bridge Guides due to different standards for print and digital use. For the PANTONE Color Bridge Guides we use the M1 lighting standard to align with industry standards for process printing. For the PANTONE Color Finder we use the M2 lighting standard to align with commonly used design software like Adobe Photoshop.

Unknown said...

Color is complicated. Your monitor uses red-green-blue additive primaries while your printer uses cyan-magenta-yellow-black subtractive primaries (Yes, black isn't really necessary in the Platonic subtractive model -- in real life it is). Pantone (as I understand it, I'm not a graphic designer) is intended to bridge that gap by letting you specify something with a known "this is how it will look printed" value.

Amadeus 48 said...

One of the true inanities of US political commentary is the ahistorical and arbitrary assignment of red to the GOP and blue to the Dems. What about the Red Flag? The Res Star? True-blue Tories? Red China? The East is Red? The Reds versus the Whites in Russia? When the Cincinatti Reds became the Redlegs early in the Cold War? Those red shirts that Hugo Chavez used to wear? The US television networks in their ignorance took a wrecking ball to 150 years of political tradition. Or maybe it wasn’t ignorance. Maybe it was infiltration intended to sow confusion.

Since we are rethinking the political color wave, the GOP should reclaim blue, and the Democrats should get stuck with yellow. They have earned it.

Amadeus 48 said...

The Red Star. I hate touchscreens.

tcrosse said...

Lord, I got the Blues.

Fernandistein said...

Please note that RGB & Hex/HTML values will differ between the PANTONE Color Finder and the PANTONE Color Bridge Guides due to different standards for print and digital use.

I also looked up to color values and was surprised that they didn't give the CIELAB values, which actually define the color, rather than, or in addition to, the device-dependent values. Just change your monitor brightness and "RGB 15 76 129" is now a different color.

Susan said...

I look forward to seeing the Royal Markles decorating their new Canadian palace in many shades of blue in solidarity with the planet.

Themav1977 said...

There's a certain arguement towards the relaxing part I suppose. Russian tactical jet aircraft cockpits are a shade of blue with the intent to "relax" the aircrew.

rehajm said...

world is his advisors living on that THAT is an argument for voting?

Bloomberg guy just in CNBC saying essentially the same thing and also calling for a $15 minimum wage. It’s a direct appeal to swing state workers.

Steyer is the most honest in one if his ubiquitous commercials- this election will come down to the economy. But what to do when the economy is the best in three generations? Pretend it isn’t!!!

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

The psychology of color in marketing is interesting, and this article is a good example of the elements of blue that make it very popular for institutions that want your trust, like banks. Blue inspires trust among other things. IBM used to be known as Big Blue, a nickname based on their huge roll in technology development in the last half of the last century, and in fact they trademarked their specific blue logotype. Blue LEDs are still common as indicator lights on tech. Tech wants your trust too.

So what about orange? Orange is very common among brands that make tools, and unlike Lowe’s blue logo, another popular DIY chain uses orange for their logo. Why tools? Orange is often combined with black across tool categories because together they denote strength and reliability. Very similar to the black/yellow combo common on construction equipment. Both color combos also offer high visibility as a feature, an obvious benefit for Handtools used in construction and other tasks in which keeping track of gear is useful. So orange and blue have different attributes but are both used to build brand identities.

traditionalguy said...

That looks like a ripoff of Air Force Blue. Up we go into the wild blue Pantone 19-4052.

Bob Boyd said...

Suggestive of the dawning of a new day, the reassuring qualities of the thought-provoking PANTONE Trumpskin highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Ack: “huge roll” should be “huge role”

Curious George said...

"I think Trump knows that. He famously tweeted "All is well" just as the more nervous among us were steeling themselves for World War III and the return of the military draft."

Wow.

chickelit said...

Doesn’t Pantone mean big pants in Italian? Another relatable reminder of Hillary.

madAsHell said...

Isn’t there some Muslim mythology about the 12th imam returning from the light?

Check out Trump’s entrance to his most recent press conference. No one will ever out-troll the Trump!

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Sometimes blue is just blue. Trump derangement derangement syndrome.

Temujin said...

I work in an industry that uses fabrics all the time. Every year Pantone comes out with it's color of the year, followed by exclamation points on Linkedin, Instagram, and Pinterest posts from designers and vendors.

Then they go out and do projects and their clients select what they want anyway. We make what's ordered and rarely, if ever, do we get calls for those 'colors of the year'.

I wonder if the Blue lobby has more presence in New Jersey then the red/orange lobby. Or if this was just to reassure the Dems that everything is OK. (last year was coral, and look how things turned out).

stevew said...

A better way to get calm and be reassured is to ignore the outrage mob and click bait culture. Get off FB and Twitter. Focus on the things in your life that make you calm and assured. Some external thing, like a color, or person cannot do this for you. Take responsibility and you will take control.

Blue is one of my favorite colors though. The company I work for is all about red in their logo and content. Big fan of Orange Man Bad, in a good way.

Stv30 said...

“the complete opposite of blue...”. Or, “complimentary”. Om.

Phidippus said...

Regarding the additive primaries used in TV: Many people don't realize that there are no yellow pixels on the screen. My wife didn't believe me until she walked right up to the screen with a magnifying glass. The yellow areas are R+G when you look at them close up.

Interestingly, while it looks as yellow as anything, there isn't (or needn't be) any energy between 570nm and 590nm, which is "spectral" yellow present in that case.

Color perception is tricky that way.



mikee said...

Pantone Colors of the Year for 2018 and 2019 were a lurid purple and a lurid coral.
Their descriptions were equally amorphous and interpretable in a number of ways.
This year Pantone chose a dark blue to publicize their products.
Next year it could be a flaming red (Aussie brush fires) or a flat black (BLM!) or a green like Bermuda grass (Augusta should admit women!).

The color of the year is not really political, unless you make it so in your own head.
Pantone is using marketing, an overt effort to induce change in the existing designs of those who use color inside and outside their homes and businesses. Why? To sell more paint!

I, for one, recall avocado green shag carpets and lemon yellow kitchen appliances from decades past, with taupe paint on the walls. Thank goodness for changes in fashion, but don't overthink them. The makers of paint just want you to use more of it, more often than most people do. Changing the color of the year annually makes one think, "OK, I'll repaint the living room." To do more is to over think the issue.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Blue has been big for a few years now. Gray, white and blue accent.
Every watch HGTV?

They cannot come up with anything other than white, gray and blue accent.
It's like a marvel comic movie over and over again.

Peach baby. peach. I don't need a committee telling me what boring robot color to like.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

SNL gave Hillary a tongue bath. Compare to how SNL treats anyone non-leftwing.

Ficta said...

Is this like "Cornflower Blue"?

Fernandistein said...

The psychology of color in marketing is interesting,

I'd heard that they tend to avoid blue for food containers (because almost no food is blue?), but try teh google.images on 'grocery shelves' and it looks like green is the least common color.

Fernandistein said...

Is this like "Cornflower Blue"?

$ grep -i corn /etc/X11/rgb.txt | grep -i blue
100 149 237 cornflower blue
100 149 237 CornflowerBlue

No.

robother said...

Don't knock knock Pantone. Orange you glad its not banana yellow?

Roger Sweeny said...

One of the true inanities of US political commentary is the ahistorical and arbitrary assignment of red to the GOP and blue to the Dems. What about the Red Flag? The Res Star? True-blue Tories? Red China? The East is Red? The Reds versus the Whites in Russia?

Indeed. The modern meanings of red for Republican and blue for Democratic took hold in the 2000 presidential election (G.W. Bush v. Al Gore), particularly in the long-drawn-out suits and recounts following it. Tim Russert is generally given credit for the terms Red State and Blue State in his election commentary that year.

I have always wondered if the quick adoption of the terms by the media was a subconscious desire to break the association of the Democratic Party (the good lefties) with Communists (the bad lefties).

tommyesq said...

This year Pantone chose a dark blue to publicize their products.

I looked at their website, and for the life of me cannot figure out what the hell Pantone actually does.

rehajm said...

SNL gave Hillary a tongue bath.

Now I have the image of McKinnon giving Hillary a tongue bath. Thanks alot for that...

Howard said...

Fredandethelstien: I learned about CIELAB and a bunch of other color theory and perception from

Handprint.com

Lots of other stuff you might find interesting as well. Bruce MacEvoy is an interesting highly opinionated guy.

Yancey Ward said...

What is odor of the year?

Chuck said...

Isn’t it “Pantone 409k”? Maybe I am mixing it up with something else.

Limited blogger said...

Orange and Blue are New York sports colors - Mets, Knicks and Islanders

Limited blogger said...

Ann, you need a color 'suggestive of the sky at DAWN'

Howard said...

Blue is the compliment of orange.

Christy said...

I've long loved the October sky at dusk.

Seeing Red said...

We have taken the mantle of empire from the Brits

We didn’t “take” it.

And you should watch Bill Whittle’s video on empire.

Seeing Red said...

Miranda Priestly: ‘This… stuff’? Oh. OK. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.

wildswan said...

There's paint color and light color. For your paint - blue. For your light, orange to counter the blue because too much blue has been shown to induce mental disorders.

Article on how blue causes the blues from Sweden or "Orange Man Good."

https://norwegianscitechnews.com/2017/12/can-orange-light-help-mentally-ill/

Key paragraphs
... light isn’t just light. It has different wavelengths of red, yellow and blue. Regular daylight has many shades of blue in it. And when the sun is about to drop below the horizon, the colour of the light that we perceive changes. Just think of a beautiful sunset. It’s mostly pink and orange, without much blue in it.

The blue wavelengths in daylight cause the brain to become energetic and awake. Blue light sends a strong signal to the brain that the sleep hormone melatonin should switch off, and then we wake up. That’s why a bright light treatment in the morning can help people fend off winter depression and the feeling of powerlessness.

And the opposite also holds true. If we surround ourselves with a lot of blue light in the evening, then the body’s natural slumber inducer, the hormone melatonin, won’t kick in. It may be nighttime, but do you feel tired? Nope. The body thinks it’s still daytime.

...

A lot of electronics like television screens, LED lights, lamps, tablets and mobiles contain blue light. If we watch television in the evening or lounge on the couch with our tablet, purely biological reasons will keep us awake much longer than if we were in a candlelit cabin.

...
Patients experiencing manic episodes wore orange glasses during their waking hours from six o’clock in the evening to eight o’clock in the morning for one week. A control group wore clear glasses. Everyone continued to receive their regular treatments as well. After just three days, the patients with orange glasses were significantly better. The orange glasses blocked the blue light, and the brain thought it was dark.


Researcher HÃ¥vard Kallestad emphasizes that treatment should include talk therapy and other therapies in addition to the light treatment. Photo: NTNU
“At the new emergency centre in Trondheim, you could say that the building has become the tinted glasses. We’ve taken everything we know about orange and blue light and the importance of a good daily rhythm, and physically applied that knowledge to the building,” says Kallestad.

Researchers to test if it works
Now the researchers want to find out for themselves whether or not light therapy can positively affect the mentally ill. From now on, patients in the new emergency centre will be divided into groups located in two physically separate units.

One unit has regular lighting comparable to other public buildings. The other unit is equipped for light treatment. Two long rows of powerful lights are available for use there every morning. Every evening from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. the blue light found in daylight and the indoor lighting is switched over to evening light. An orange filter is lowered in front of the windows, and lights in the hallway and the patient rooms turn orange.

From 6:30 a.m. on, natural light shines through the windows. And the regular lights are turned back on.

That way, patients receive a lot of daylight in the morning and artificial darkness in the evening. The hope is that this will support a better circadian rhythm – and improved health –for patients.

...

The question arises what people should do who have just replaced their old light bulbs with LED bulbs. We know LED lights are beneficial for the environment, but can they mess up our circadian rhythm?

Kallestad confirms that yes, LEDs may potentially have a harmful effect on our circadian rhythm. LEDs produce more blue light than old-fashioned light bulbs do. When it comes to tablets and smartphones, many of them have a nighttime setting or app that filters out blue light that you can turn on in the evening."

Earnest Prole said...

You've sized this up masterfully.

Karen said...

Back in the ‘70’s before custom colors were available, I once spent half an hour trying to explain to a paint guy that I wanted that exact color, the one just before darkness fell, to paint my bedroom. He got close, but this is closer.

Earnest Prole said...

The target upper-middle-class white person of this demographic merely seeks serenity and wellness — IS THAT TOO MUCH TO FUCKIN’ ASK???!!!

Rosa Marie Yoder said...

I prefer Glacier Blue 1653 by Benjamin Moore.