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To the majority of people, the term “Pantone 17-5641 Emerald” will be a mystery. It may sound like the name of a distant planet from a Star Wars film, but the Pantone 17-5641 Emerald is 2013’s colour of the year.

Pantone are a company that have huge influence. After starting out as a printing company in the 1950’s, the New Jersey company are now more famous for PMS (Pantone Matching System), which is a branded colour space used in industries such as printing, paint, fabric, and plastics.


Since 2000, Pantone have hosted a secret meeting in a major city in Europe to find a ‘Colour of the Year’. Along with representatives from various nations’ colour standards groups, they get together and fight it out over two days of presentations and debates to find a colour that is in keeping with the mood of the times. For example, last year’s colour Tangerine Tango, was chosen because it “provided the energy boost we needed to recharge and move forward” (Pantone’s words).

The decision – and the subsequent colour – can quickly have a wide-reaching effect on many industries, including fashion, graphic design and florists.

A Wide Ranging Influence

It may seem bizarre that a decision on what is deemed the colour of the year by one corporation and some of their influential friends would have such a wide-ranging effect on decisions made in so many industries, but top fashion designers such as Tommy Hilfiger and Ella Moss have all taken Pantone’s decision as gospel and honed their seasons designs accordingly. You can also see it on everything from iPhone cases to office furniture.

The chosen colour of the year candidate will also make a difference to how people decorate their home, as interior designers and companies produce ranges of paint and furniture to suit the trends, and when Pantone are essentially setting the trends for that year, the chances are that there will be a lot of Emerald colours on the walls of many homes.

Pantone’s 17-5641 Emerald is a stunning green, and as Emerald’s are most associated with gemstones and riches, it is a very luxurious colour. According to Pantone, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity for centuries. They certainly know how to sell a colour.

The Implications to Graphic Design

In the fashion world, and the offline world in general, the Emerald colour is certain to dazzle and impress. But what are the implications of the colour to the world of graphic design? Colour is very important to the online world, as it is often this that makes a website or design stand out, as well as the functionality of the site.

With a colour as crisp and elegant as Emerald, it will definitely find a place in the graphic design world, especially where there needs to be a mixture of white and green. It gives everything a sophisticated look. Green is a very popular colour in graphic design as it is associated with nature, which in turn has a positive effect on those who come into contact with the colour.

Who knows how the colour that seduced Pantone and their friends into making it colour of the year came about? Was it spotted on car, at an art gallery or a perhaps even a flower? It is a mystery for now, but one thing is for sure though: It has earned its crown this year.

Sophie works alongside brand design agency Amplitude. Green has long been her favourite colour so she is glad to see it in the spotlight this year!

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