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Does pantone do color forecasting?

Color trends and forecasts are an important part of design and marketing. Understanding upcoming color trends allows brands and designers to stay ahead of the curve and select hues that will resonate with consumers each season. One of the leading authorities on color forecasting is Pantone. As the experts behind the iconic Pantone Matching System, this company has its finger on the pulse of color trends worldwide.

For over 50 years, Pantone has been the global authority on color. The Pantone Matching System allows designers and brands to accurately match colors across various materials and mediums. This system is used widely in graphic design, fashion, product design, and more. In addition to color matching, Pantone also analyzes color trends and forecasts upcoming colors through its Pantone Color Institutes.

Pantone Color Institutes are located around the world and employ color experts who analyze trends across industries. By evaluating fashion, art, design, travel destinations, entertainment, and socioeconomic conditions, Pantone color experts forecast the most impactful colors one to two years in advance. This forecast allows brands and designers to make informed decisions about color in their products, graphics, packaging, and more.

Pantone Color of the Year

One of Pantone’s most well-known color forecasts is selecting the Pantone Color of the Year. This annual forecast highlights a standout color predicted to be highly influential in the coming year. Below is a look back at Pantone’s Color of the Year selections over the past decade:

Year Pantone Color of the Year
2023 Viva Magenta
2022 Very Peri
2021 Ultimate Gray + Illuminating
2020 Classic Blue
2019 Living Coral
2018 Ultra Violet
2017 Greenery
2016 Rose Quartz + Serenity
2015 Marsala
2014 Radiant Orchid

The Pantone Color of the Year creates buzz and anticipation in the design world and influences color trends across fashion, cosmetics, product design, and visual arts. Brands like using the Color of the Year in logos, packaging, advertisements, and products. For example, after Pantone chose Marsala as the 2015 Color of the Year, Marsala appeared on everything from lipstick to house paint.

Pantone Color Trend Reports

In addition to the Color of the Year, Pantone releases seasonal color trend reports forecasting the top 10 standout colors for fashion and graphic design. These reports are released approximately six months before each season:

  • Autumn/Winter New York Fashion Week (released in February)
  • Spring/Summer New York Fashion Week (released in September)

Pantone’s color experts analyze trends across industries to select the most impactful 10 colors for each forecast. The seasonal reports allow brands and designers to plan coordinated color palettes around Pantone’s predicted trends. For example, Pantone released its NYFW Spring/Summer 2023 color trend report on September 14, 2022. The top 10 colors predicted for Spring/Summer 2023 are:

Pantone Color Name Description
  Lemon Drop Vibrant yellow
  Fuschia Fedora Vibrant pink
  Brown Granite Neutral brown
  Verdigris Green Yellow-tinged green
  Dirty Martini Hazy green-gray
  Mystic Lavender Soft purple
  Pink Peony Soft pink
  Grey Blue Cool blue-gray
  Viva Magenta Bright pink-red
  Amberglow Warm amber

These seasonal color forecasts allow fashion designers, graphic artists, product designers, and merchandisers to plan coordinated color schemes well in advance. Ultimately, this helps keep designs, branding, and products en vogue with current color trends.

How Pantone Forecasts Colors

Pantone employs leading color experts who analyze trends across culture, entertainment, art, design, travel, and socioeconomics to forecast colors one to two years in advance. They use a holistic approach to color prediction that combines both art and science.

Some of the specific areas Pantone color experts analyze for clues on upcoming color trends include:

  • Fashion Runway Shows: Runway color trends lead the way for upcoming styles in all industries.
  • Interior/Product Design: Home decor, furniture, technology products, and more provide direction on color trends.
  • Travel Locations: Popular destinations and new hot spots indicate color influences.
  • Retail: Department store displays and marketing inform color trends.
  • Cosmetics: Makeup and nail polish colors on the rise provide color clues.
  • Art Exhibits: Major museum shows reveal evolving color palettes in art.
  • Entertainment: Movies, TV shows, music, and pop culture signal upcoming color trends.
  • Socioeconomics: Consumer values, attitudes, and lifestyles impact color preferences.

Pantone experts synthesize trends across these areas to determine the most impactful color directions. While trend analysis involves some objective data, there is also an element of subjective color interpretation by the color professionals at Pantone. Their experience and expertise lead the way in forecasting color trends.

Pantone Trend Forecasting Products

In addition to the Color of the Year and seasonal fashion color reports, Pantone offers several color forecasting products and services for brands and designers:

  • Pantone View Color Planner: A large fan deck with forecasted color trends two years in advance.
  • Color Consulting: Custom color trend forecasts and workshops from Pantone color experts.
  • PantoneLIVE: A digital platform with real-time color trend data and forecasts.
  • Custom Color Standards: Unique branded color standards for product and packaging design.
  • PIQ: A mobile app for capturing photos and finding matching Pantone colors.
  • Pantone Connect: A visualization tool to see Pantone colors on 3D product renderings.

These services provide brands with valuable insights and tools to integrate forecasted color trends into designs. Access to Pantone’s expertise helps designers and marketers make critical color choices aligned with consumer preferences.

Industry Reliance on Pantone Forecasts

As the global authority on color, Pantone’s forecasts are highly influential across industries like fashion, cosmetics, marketing, graphic design, and industrial design. Brands rely heavily on Pantone’s predictions to make strategic color choices in products and branding. Key ways industry professionals use Pantone color forecasts include:

  • Fashion designers plan seasonal color palettes for clothing and accessories lines based on Pantone’s fashion color reports.
  • Beauty brands formulate makeup, nail polish, and hair color products aligned with Pantone’s predicted trends.
  • Graphic designers incorporate upcoming colors from Pantone forecasts into logos, branding, websites, packaging, and more.
  • Manufacturers use forecasted colors in products like electronics, home goods, toys, and more.
  • Retailers coordinate merchandise, promotions, store design, and visuals to Pantone’s color trends.
  • Creative agencies reference forecasts to develop marketing campaigns and ad designs.

Aligning with Pantone’s predicted colors allows brands to create designs that feel fresh, reflect consumer preferences, and stand out on the shelves. This makes investing in Pantone’s forecasting services worthwhile for many companies.

Criticism and Controversy

While Pantone is the undisputed leader in color trend forecasting, some industry professionals have criticized aspects of its predictions and methods. Here are some of the controversies surrounding Pantone color forecasting:

  • Forecasts too far in advance – Two years is a long lead time in the fast-paced world of design and fashion.
  • Lack of transparency – Pantone does not reveal details of its forecasting methodology.
  • Self-fulfilling prophecies – Brands force trends to match forecasts.
  • Oversimplification – Top 10 lists overlook nuanced color stories.
  • Too much homogenization – Discourages unique color palettes.

Some designers prefer to buck the trends and develop their own unique color stories rather than follow Pantone’s forecasts. However, even when rebelling against the forecasts, designers still must acknowledge Pantone’s significant influence on the color decisions of competitors and consumers.


In summary, Pantone is a leading authority on color trends due to the expertise of its color institutes and the breadth of its trend analysis across industries. The annual Color of the Year and seasonal fashion color forecasts provide valuable guidance to brands and designers seeking to align products and graphics with consumer preferences. While some controversy exists, Pantone’s forecasts remain go-to references for the color choices of many companies. When planning palettes one to two years in advance, design professionals can gain key insights and direction from Pantone’s predictions.