5 Ways Pantone Picks the Color of the Year

2014 Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid by @schulmanArt, Miriam Schulman

pantone color of the year | radiant orchid | 2014 color trends

Ever wonder how Pantone picks the color of the year? Well they don’t gaze into a crystal ball. This past weekend I had the chance to hear how Pantone arrived at Radiant Orchid for the 2014 Color of the Year.

Guest Speaker at Surtex

Laurie Pressman, Vice President, Pantone Color Institute gave a talk at the Surtex Trend Theater (Surtex stands for surface/textiles). Mostly she talked about trends they are seeing for 2015/2016 but that deserves its own blog post. She also reviewed how Pantone chooses the color of the year and I found the process fascinating so I wanted to share that with you!

pantone color of the year | radiant orchid | 2014 color trends
Radiant Orchid is the color of the
azaleas in my backyard and my J Crew t shirt

{see full art studio tour on Take A tour of my Art Studio!}

Color Trends in Fashion

The Runways are definitely a large contributing factor to choosing and predicting color trends… after all approximately 16% of designers included some form of radiant orchid in their color story. However, this is not the only source that Pantone considers.


pantone color of the year | radiant orchid | 2014 color trends | Disney's Frozen
Radiant Orchid was used in the backdrops and
costumes in this popular Disney film, Frozen


Color in Popular Films

Another contributing factor is pop culture. My kids are now “too old” for Disney- if you ever can be too old for Disney- so I hadn’t seen Frozen. When Pressman flashed the movie still on her Power Point presentation it was glaringly obvious that radiant orchid played a dominant role in the backdrops, costumes and styling for this movie.


pantone color of the year | radiant orchid | 2014 color trends | James Turrell exhibition at the Guggenheim
James Turrell: Rendering for Aten Reign, 2013,
Daylight and LED light, Site-specific installation,
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York © James Turrell


Color in Art Exhibitions

Art exhibitions definitely play a role in fashion trends… Anyone old enough to remember the Cleopatra craze in the seventies when the Kin Tut exhibition went on tour? Pantone took notice of the James Turrell 2013 light installation at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. The dominant color? Radiant orchid.





radiant orchid | purple cars | 2014 color trends | color of the year
@thecarguide reviews Purple Plasma cars

Color Technology for Cars

Technology for creating colors for cars is also a good predictor of trends. The color purple started appearing not just on specialty cars like a Rolls Royce, but also on mainstream brands like this Mitsubishi hatchback.


Home Decor and Accents

Home decor and accessories are another barometer on trends. The color may appear in bathroom cabinets and other surface materials, purple paint ( my blog review on 11 Perfect Purple Paint Shades) or in an accessory, like pillows and purple art. My peacock art has been popular with collectors because of the purple shades. {see all my purple peacock art and accessories}

2014 color or the year Radiant orchid
Radiant Orchid seen on a plethora of products
{more shopping details on Color Obsession: Radiant Orchid}

Color of the Year is a Reflection rather than a prediction

Pressman pointed out that often the color of the year will appear in a previous year and then it gains momentum with consumers. We have been seeing purple as a trend in recent years taking many forms. Pantone’s report is more of a reflection of trends already happening in the marketplace rather than a prediction.


Lots of etsy finds in Radiant Orchid!

Question: How have you incorporated this trend into your home or wardrobe? Let me know… your comments let me know you stopped by and I’d love to hear from you!


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0 thoughts on “5 Ways Pantone Picks the Color of the Year”

  1. I want the car. Wow. I really want the car!!

    And thanks! I never realized the trend comes first and then they pick the color. For some reason, I thought they picked the color long in advance and THEN the trend happened. LOL I was giving them way too much credit.

  2. How fascinating! I knew that Pantone looked towards the catwalk, but no idea about the other sources they considered!

    I haven't consciously put purple in my wardrobe this year, and I have to be honest and say that I don't follow colour trends for my own wardrobe so much, as I tend to stick to colours that I know work well for me – but! I have worked the radiant orchid-ish purple into my little girl's newly redecorated bedroom, along with a few other colours for accent – and it's looking fab!

  3. Cool to read how that works. I have not really every paid much attention to the color of the year, though I thought it was obvious while walking through the mall the other day. I have one purple sweater, but I bought it last year…part of the prediction part, I guess. 🙂


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I’m Miriam Schulman, your curator of inspiration.

I inspire art-lovers to reconnect with their creativity and profit from their art. Whether you paint simply for the joy of it or you’re serious about selling your work, and you’re ready to stop putting yourself on the back burner...You're in the right place. I've done it and I can inspire YOU how to do it too.

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