20 Years of Pantone’s Color of the Year: A Free RGB Guide

20 Years of Pantone’s Color of the Year: A Free RGB Guide

How did I find each of the Pantone Color of the Year’s complementary and triadic colors?

Pantone provides the RGB numbers. I took those numbers and subtracted each one from 255 to come up with the opposite color in the RGB spectrum. For color triads, I added or subtracted 85 to each RGB number to end up with three evenly distributed numbers in the RGB range of 1-255. I then took those RGB numbers and input them into Pantone’s color search tool. The color conversion tool then selects the closest Pantone color to those RGB numbers.

Some of these combinations were a surprise, especially the triadic ones because they seem to be analogous in some cases.

Here's the link to download a split two page layout for printing on standard letter size paper.

The image to the left is a preview of the full 8.5"x22" document. It lists the RGB numbers of each color as well as the RGB numbers of each color's complementary and triadic colors.

Here's a link to the full size PDF.

Here are a few things I noticed: (Everything here is just my opinion - everyone has their own opinions when it comes to colors - these are just a few random thoughts that came to mind when I was putting this together.)

Here is a link to the PDF version of the image below which has twenty twenty sided die in vector format with the die colored with all the Pantone Color of the Years from 2000's Cerulean Blue up to this next year's 2019 color - Living Coral!

Wait, did they say Cerulean Blue?! 

That episode aired back in 1996 and the official Pantone Cerulean Blue came out in it's first year in 2000.  On the official page for the color Pantone states ""Psychologically, gazing at a blue sky brings a sense of peace and tranquillity to the human spirit," says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. "Sky blue is imprinted in our psyches as a retiring, quiescent color. Surrounding yourself with Cerulean blue could bring on a certain peace because it reminds you of time spent outdoors, on a beach, near the water - associations with restful, peaceful, relaxing times. In addition, it makes the unknown a little less frightening because the sky, which is a presence in our lives every day, is a constant and is always there. That's the dependability factor of blue."


Barney, Dat You?!

2014 and its complementary color got me thinking about Barney. One of my little sister's favorite characters when she was a toddler. Barney drove us older sisters nuts - I can still hear the ending I Love You Song song in my head decades later! 

2016 - The Baby Year

Was someone at Pantone pregnant? Traditional baby boy and girl colors were chosen that year instead of the usual one color. With so much controversy surrounding gender these days, this probably wouldn't be a good choice as so many are bypassing these two color tones for their new babies. (I myself chose bright neons for my kids, as I can't stand pastels)
Serenity and its complementary color actually remind me of a baby boy's soiled diaper - nifty! However, the color triad to fellow 2016's Rose Quartz is one of my favorite color triads of all the Pantone years so far. Many of the triadic color sets have garrish brights that don't seem to jive with the rest of the colors even if the math is correct. This color triad works well together.

A few of the color of the years seemed to be so close to each other that they appeared to be repeats, especially when you added the complementary colors next to them.

That's all I noticed while compiling this free RGB guide to the Pantone Colors of the Years from the first 20 years. Pantone has always been the standard color matching system I've seen used in commercial print production up here in Alaska. In an effort to save paper these days, a lot of documents are never printed. This allows designers to use RGB rather than the duller and darker CMYK colors. Web design work is also done with RGB rather than CMYK. One thing comes to mind when I'm forced to use CMYK...


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