At the end of each year, the Pantone Color Institute selects a “Color of the Year” for the coming year. This year is no different, and it seems we have come full circle. 20 years after Pantone announced Cerulean as their inaugural Color of the Year, Classic Blue was selected for 2020.

In this article, we’ll explore how we got to this point and what this year has in store for the world of design with Classic Blue at the forefront. To learn more about design opportunities for your space, contact one of our design consultants today.

The politics of color

Although color prediction companies won’t say it outright, likely in an effort to remain neutral and politically correct, color is always affected by current events. In 2016, there were two Colors of the Year: Rose Quartz (a shade of pink) and Serenity (a light blue). The color combination spoke softly to the LGBTQ fight for equality and blur of gender lines. The 2006 pick, a very neutral “Sand Dollar,” is said to reflect Pantone’s concerns about the state of the United States economy that year. 2002’s Color of the Year was “True Red,” reminiscent of both fire trucks and of the heart of a united nation in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. After a year of much unrest, the calming tones of 2020’s Classic Blue come at just the right time to close out the decade.

Pathway to blue

When the craft movement took hold about four years ago, indigo began gaining popularity — an inkling of the deep blues to come. Past years’ colors were soft, magical, and dreamy. Now it seems that people want a clear vision of what lies ahead. Blue provides that clarity while maintaining a sense of calm. This year’s hue reflects both the sky and water – fluid and moving – able to navigate around obstacles and create new pathways.

Unlike the blacks and greys often found in office interiors, blue invokes a more inviting feeling. Classic Blue is a wise color, urging us to slow down and proceed with clear minds. A universal color, it looks good in any space — from hotel lobbies to retail environments. It also creates a stunning backdrop for the greenery of plants. Classic Blue can be dramatic when paired with other jewel tones or can be a crisp addition to white. It can even fit within an earthy palette when used with woods and other natural elements. Classic Blue is the new Neutral.

Blue in the office space

There is an entire field of study dedicated to the psychology of color. Consequently, the color blue has been an oft-researched topic. Studies such as those from the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Texas found that blue boosts productivity, a welcome stimulus in the office space. In addition, it has been found that blue instills trust and dependability. As such, it can be incredibly useful for offices in the insurance and banking industries — where consumer trust is paramount. 

Classic Blue fits perfectly alongside other jewel tones to create an interesting, but more natural palette to liven up a drab office.


Blue in the hospitality and healthcare industries

Another benefit of the color blue is its calming capability. This is especially advantageous in the hospitality and healthcare sectors, where patrons and patients seek relaxation and reassurance….for different reasons. Hotels often serve as an oasis for visitors looking to escape the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives. Conversely, healthcare facilities can be quite anxiety-inducing by nature. Incorporating a calming blue into the decor, perhaps alongside other soothing shades, may be just the thing to offset fears and apprehensions.

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Blue in retail

“Color influences perception. Every color used in your store tells a story that will determine how shoppers perceive your merchandise.”
– Niraj Ranjan Rout, RetailNext

The colors you use in your retail space serve many purposes all at once. These colors need to tell your brand story, spark interest, and instill a confidence in your customers that makes them want to purchase from you. A study from the University of Loyola, Maryland found that the use of color can increase brand recognition by 80%. 

Classic Blue can easily be paired with brighter, “fun” colors as seen in the palette below.

image-stock-ambius-pantone-snorkle palette.webp

“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. Imbued with a deep resonance, Classic Blue provides an anchoring foundation. A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky, Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking; challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication.”
-Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute

No matter the constraints of your space, our design experts are equipped to take on the challenge. Contact us today to get started.


If you liked this article, check out some of our others on previous years’ colors:

2019 Pantone Color of the Year: Living Coral
2018 Pantone Color of the Year: Ultra Violet
Pantone’s Color of 2017: Greenery