Thursday, December 3, 2015

Pantone's Color Blindness: 2016, The Vintage Diaper Pin Edition

"Serenity" (Blue is for Boys) & "Rose Quartz" (Pink is for Girls)
Last year, I wrote about Pantone's Color Blindness, when "Marsala" was chosen as the 2015 Color of the Year. It didn't look anything like Marsala. 


Rather than the golden or amber color most people would recognize as Marsala, an obscure variety called Rubino, or ruby Marsala was chosen. Poorly named, the color had little life as a flat paint swatch. At the time, I said it would always remind me of "the lipstick on the rim of the glass rather than the wine." 


"Horrified" was the one word I could muster when first sharing the link with Pantone's 2016 Color of the Year. It was a double whammy this time-- not one, but two oddball color choices: "Serenity" (Blue is for Boys), and "Rose Quartz" (Pink is for Girls). Now that I've had time to digest the news, my one word is "perplexed".


For some people, the colors were reminiscent of the 1980s, the whole Miami Vice thing. At the time, I lived in Manhattan, dressed in black, and didn't watch TV. So, Pantone's 2016 colors brought me all the way back to the colors of the Di-Dee Pins that held up my cloth diapers in the late 1960s. Blue was for boys. Pink was for girls. Baby colors, but also binary ones. Pantone calls the colors representative of gender fluidity. Utter hogwash, if you ask me.

screen shot from Pantone's website
According to the Pantone press release, "In many parts of the world we are experiencing a gender blur as it relates to fashion, which has in turn impacted color trends throughout all other areas of design. This more unilateral approach to color is coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity, the consumer's increased comfort with using color as a form of expression, a generation that has less concern about being typecast or judged and an open exchange of digital information that has opened our eyes to different approaches to color usage."

Sorry, Pantone. That's weak. So are the 2016 Colors of the Year. 

18 comments:

  1. What a load of codswallop! I don't mind the colors as much as the pretentious gender nonsense. These remind me of the country blue and rose trend from the 80s.

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  2. So...Pepto Bismol and a flat 1950's blue. Another Pantone fail IMHO.

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  3. The logic for these color choices is pure pablum. Every color has it's place and use, but these two are simply insipid. They lack energy and vitality. They make no statement at all. Trying too hard not to offend, thus saying nothing meaningful. Is that the direction we are headed as a culture?

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    1. I just read this post and your reply to my 20-something son. His reply? "Yes, yes it is."

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  4. I used to always look forward to the Pantone Color of the Year release, but the last few have definitely been questionable. I'm glad I no longer do as much graphic design work because clients often ask for different projects using whatever the color of the year is, to help them be "on trend," so I am glad I don't have to work with these ridiculous color choices!

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  5. snorted my coffee reading this one...really?

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  6. blech!!!!! Is this the inevitable following of all the plaid? Too much pattern, need for blandness? Don't find it appealing at all.

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  7. I agree with you and what mehitabe said!!!

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  8. First thing I thought of when I saw these colors was the MM Quitcon challenge of last year which was all pastels. That being said, I haven't seen a Pantone color of the year I've liked yet.

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  9. First thing I thought of when I saw these colors was the MM Quitcon challenge of last year which was all pastels. That being said, I haven't seen a Pantone color of the year I've liked yet.

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  10. It's all in how they are used. Bill, take a look at a certain quilt in your forthcoming book. Those colors are in a block contributed by a quilter because they were just about the only solids in her stash.

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  11. When I see these colors,I keep thinking of an acquaintance's dull bland kitchen decorating with flowery ruffled curtains featuring these two colors -- from the early 70s! It was awful then, and it is awful now. There is no spark of life in those colors.

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  12. Once again i am glad I ignore the Pantone color of the year. (What is it good for anyway other than their challenge?) I agree with Dawn that one could make a good block from them, as with any "ugly" fabric, but the goodness wouldn't be because of the two colors. Plus my snort at their pretending to blur gender stereotypes while reinforcing them. Claire aka knitnkwilt.

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