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I have been intrigued by the news that Pantone’s colour of the year for 2010 is turquoise. To tell the truth I am intrigued by the idea that Pantone have a colour of the year at all: it seems a crazy notion. Sure, I was aware of fashion gurus declaring what next season’s (or next year’s) colours would be, but that was clearly a capitalist gimmick, partly determined by the content of the collections of famous designers and partly by the need for a larger industry to goad Mrs. Average into thinking that she really needs that new blouse. The concept that a single colour can encapsulate the mood or trends of an entire year seems far-fetched, somewhat akin to crystal healing or astrology in its distillation of a complex and messy reality into simple aphorisms. I admire the optimism of believing that rose quartz will promote ‘love energy’ or that haematite will dissipate negative influences, but apart from being an amusing diversion I seriously doubt that these things are much more use than a chocolate teapot when a real crisis looms.
So it is with the declaration that a colour will sum up the zeitgeist for the year ahead. However, in the world of retail and big business there is of course a feedback loop which will guarantee that we will be seeing more of turquoise in the year to come. When I checked the colour of the year for 2009 and 2008 I was surprised to find that yellow and iris had been granted this honour. I had noticed a particularly large and impressive ‘special edition’ chair from the Conran Shop in bright yellow, and had been surprised by its colour at the time. Now I think I know what was going on. I had also noticed one or two other items and thought to myself ‘it looks as though someone thinks we should like yellow’. But we don’t. One of those items was a tunic from Boden, the only one still available -and in every size – till the bitter end, after being relegated to the sale. On the other hand, I wondered if or when my love of deep rich blues in home decor had begun, and if somehow Pantone had infiltrated my psyche earlier, sending tendrils of iris-blue into my subconscious. It was spooky and more than a little disturbing.
Turquoise: I loved turquoise when I was a tiny girl: dark haunting blue-green, like petrol blue was my favorite colour in the world. It resonated deeply with something I couldn’t quite articulate, it seemed to echo something beyond this realm. Yet I had been noticing for some months that I have accumulated a collection of turquoisia in every shade, leaning towards the traditional lagoon-brights, and wondered why. I started to worry that perhaps I had more in common with David Icke than I thought. Is it that Pantone have really tapped into the spirit of the age, or am I a zombie consumer-unit who has just been made aware by the announcement that we are all now turquoise-lovers? Chicken and egg.
I am also perplexed by the shade pantone seem to have chosen to embody turquoise. Perhaps it is determined by its position mid differing shades, as merely a starting-place, but (at least on my screen) it is a murky and unappealing corporate shade: the colour of suffocation and free biros, cheap chairs in the Post Office and mold. My colour-namer identifies its nearest web shade as light seagreen, not turquoise. It doesn’t even seem to represent the stated ‘lagoons and spirituality and hope’ that their press statement mentions very well at all.
So how exactly do they come to this conclusion anyway? What grounds do they use to justify what they insist will be the mood of the coming year? I’d love to know. Wouldn’t you?
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 at 5:03 pm and is filed under web design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.