Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year Is the World’s Brightest Neutral
The Pantone Color of the Year represents a certain rejuvenation. It is the annual announcement that wipes this year’s color slate clean and forecasts what shade will refresh the design world in the year ahead.
Incidentally, that’s exactly what the 2017 Color of the Year represents: refreshment, rejuvenation and rebirth, according to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. This year’s youthful hue is also grounded enough to be neutral against the many other storied shades we have a history of loving.
“This shade of green is different from what we’ve ever done as color of the year before,” says Eiseman. “We love that feeling of newness, of realigning yourself and revitalizing yourself. A really important aspect is that the color has vibrancy and a little bit of brightness.”
Pantone has chosen greens in the past for Color of the Year, but never one as bright as Greenery, which is meant to evoke thoughts of flourishing foliage and, in turn, fresh beginnings. In 2013, the Color of the Year was Emerald, and in 2010, the green-blue Turquoise, but both hues were darker and more subdued than this year’s color of choice.
“The person who would adapt this color is the person who might be thinking, I need some change, something new and something fresh,” says Eiseman.”‘Rejuvenate,’ ‘revitalize’ and ‘reassurance’ are all the things we look for in a very complex social and political environment.”
Despite its yellow-green brightness, however, Greenery serves as an unexpected universal base for a plethora of other colors.
“There’s an understanding, now, that you can use green as a neutral color, just as mother nature does,” says Eiseman. “With any flower that pops out of the earth, you never say, ‘Oh, that can’t go against green’.”
Take, for example, these three very different color schemes built around Greenery:
REV IT UP
(This color scheme incorporates last year’s two colors of the year: Rose Quartz and Serenity.)
Pretty refreshing, right? Here’s how the three palettes come together against the same Greenery wall:
Greenery has had a fascinating history throughout the 19th century and, now, the 20thcentury. According to Eiseman, the spirited shade first debuted in the ’20s, when women started making more daring fashion choices and Greenery appeared on the cover of a Vogue pattern book.
The hue disappeared when the United States went into recession in the ’30s, followed by war in the ’40s, a time when resources for colors were sent away for use in the military. It wasn’t until the ’60s that bold colors returned with a splash, and after the publication of “Silent Spring” by Rachel Charleston in 1962, bright green was heralded as beacon of environmental friendliness into the ’70s.
In the ’90s, Greenery emerged once again as part of the Dotcom era (remember that apple green shade of the iMac?) and has been spotted in the design world ever since. Today, however, Greenery is being used in commercial, fashion and interior design more than ever, according to Eiseman.
“In home design, we have seen this brighter yellow green before, but the acceptance level has now reached a point where people are really embracing it,” she says. “We feel like next year’s going to be the breakout year for the color, even for people who might look at it and say, ‘Oh, I’m not so sure if I like that.'”
Because of its inherently neutral traits, Greenery can be used in large or small doses, with or without other neutrals, and as an accent or a foundation for other color schemes. Not ready to go all-out green? Try touches of greenery in throw pillows or, in the truest spirit of greenery, by adding a lush plant to your space.
It’s important to note, however, that the Pantone Color of the Year isn’t determined only by interior design trends. The shade has also made a noticeable appearance on the runway this year, debuting in collections from Gucci to Prada, and bringing a rare blend of vitality and serenity to high-end apparel.
No stranger to luxury, Greenery was also used on this year’s newly unveiled Mercedes-AMG GT R.
Whether you’re ready for a complete overhaul in your career or personal life in 2017 — or simply want to do a few things here and there to refresh your daily routine — this harmonious hue might just provide the inspiration you need to stay on track.
In a complex and über-connected universe, perhaps the best thing we can surround ourselves with is a reminder of the link we inherently seek with nature — and, ultimately, with each other.