Classic Blue: The Pantone® 2020 Color of the Year

December 4th marked the day that Pantone announced their 2020 Color of the Year: Classic Blue. While some feel this color is spot on, others aren’t so convinced. Just like many of Pantone’s colors, the widely anticipated announcement came with some shade.

Considering that the art and design industry heavily relies on the basis of color theory, Pantone’s Color of the Year is kind of a big deal. It’s no secret that Pantone is an industry leader in color theory. The COTY needs to be carefully considered before releasing it to the public. Once it’s released, it is set in stone for the next 12 months. There’s no going back, so if the public isn’t largely in favor of it, damage control won’t do much to protect their case.

Pantone Classic Blue Swatch

Photo: Pantone

Mixed Feedback

With Pantone being such a powerhouse company, it’s not reasonable to say that Classic Blue is a total miss. There are plenty of early adopters who are already planning ahead. Pantone also has a list of influential partners. Some have already integrated Classic Blue into their product designs. Others are simply pre-existing partners who have backed their choice. Globe Skateboards, Kravet home furnishings, Adobe Stock, and FedEx are among these partners. Despite all of this, Classic Blue hasn’t been the biggest hit either. As we know by now, the 2020 choice is not resonating with a good chunk of people.

Patone Color of the Year Since 2000

Every Pantone COTY since 2000. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The response hasn’t been an even split, but an interesting one nonetheless. While the majority of comments gravitate toward Pro Classic Blue, it appears that more Anti Classic Blue people are “reacting”. Think of it as watching the Superbowl. The winning team’s fans won’t stop talking about it. Whereas oftentimes the losing team’s fans tend to become somber or non-vocal. No one knows for sure what the Color of the Year will be. However, everyone hopes it is something exciting and punchy.


We’ve collected some statements regarding various opinions on the Classic Blue Color of the Year

These statements have been collected from their Facebook page. All names and images have been censored for privacy reasons.

Some people are going so far as if to read between the lines, stating that it may be a political statement on Pantone’s behalf. Meanwhile, others just feel that simplicity is key:


Pro Classic Blue Comment

Pro Classic Blue Comment

Those who aren’t in favor are negatively referring to it as “corporate” or “pedestrian”:

Anti Classic Blue Comment

Anti Classic Blue Comment

While there were fewer Anti-Classic Blue comments, the ones that were present had more reactions.

Then, there are the people who stand somewhere in between:

In-Between Classic Blue Comment

In-Between Classic Blue Comment

Again, more reactions. Just an observation on our part, though.

Why Pantone Chose Classic Blue

Of course, there is a reason behind their choice. They don’t just pick colors out of a hat. Pantone needs to consider the visual and psychological effects that colors have upon people. To them, the 19-4052 Classic Blue color withstands the test of time. It evokes the desire for a stable foundation that will bring humans into a new era. It is dependable and offers refuge to the human spirit in a chaotic world. They believe that the PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue is “comfortably embraced” and fosters a sense of resilience. According to Pantone, “As technology continues to race ahead of the human ability to process it all, it is easy to understand why we gravitate to colors that are honest and offer the promise of protection.”

Pantone Classic Blue Quote

Photo: Pantone

How This Affects The Industry

Whether you like the color or not, there is an undeniable imprint that it creates. Pantone’s annual Color of the Year announcement is always an exciting time for the art community. That’s because it’s a major decision that determines how many industries will be shaped (at least in part) for the next 12 months. Fashion Designers will flock to designing the best pieces that will flaunt Pantone’s COTY. Countless Graphic Designers will shift to creating work that incorporates this color. Even the advertising and marketing industry will, in some way, be affected by this as well. Sure, it isn’t so radical that it alters time and space. However, the effect it does have is a force to be reckoned with.

COTY Flatlay

This year, we saw Living Coral make a statement in seasonal fashion, especially in the Fall. Will Classic Blue be equally as popular in fashion? Photo: Pantone

A Bandwagon Hype

You could say that Pantone’s Color of the Year is a bandwagon sort of hype. It forces a need for relevancy that artists and industry leaders will strive to achieve. It also creates a sense of urgency in the community. After all, you don’t want to be the last one to adopt the trend. The past 3 years brought to us vibrancy and excitement. Living Coral (2019), Ultra Violet (2018), and Greenery (2017) were quite a hit. Given such mixed opinions of the 2020 color though, we’re certainly interested to see how it will compare with the previous 3 years. Will it become a favorite, or will it flop? Let us know your personal opinions of the Pantone Classic Blue 2020 Color of the Year in the comments below! Check out our other articles for up-to-date news and announcements from industry leaders like Pantone!

So long, Living Coral.

Living Coral

Photo: Pantone