Pantone’s 2020 Colour of the Year, Classic Blue

Guest Post by Julie Brown-Hallman

As a graphic designer, I was surprised when Classic Blue popped up on my browser. It’s not dynamic or bold, like the colours of recent years (e.g., Living Coral, Ultra Violet). I was distinctly unimpressed and my face contorted as if I had just inhaled a lemon.  Blue?  Really?  C’mon Pantone.


In a 2019 filled with #MeToo, climate and political concerns, Classic Blue feels wrong: bygone, traditional and decidedly boring.  Why not shades of green or pink? Is it because they’ve been chosen in recent years? These colours are representative of the current societal changes and energy that are still taking place, and for the passion that’s palpable either live, in digital or in print. Brave brands with new ideas would gravitate away from this shade of blue.


Pantone states that Classic Blue “[Instills] calm, confidence and connection,… [highlighting] our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.” Valid points to be sure, and that era could actually look more pre-digital – slower, simpler, less pressure, less screen time, less social media. Indeed, perhaps it’s a world to which some of us need to return, at least once in a while.


Many clients want blue in their logo and brand, even when they say they don’t (that’s experience talking). It’s a trustworthy colour – a benefit for start-up companies. This darker shade of blue does work very well for accessibility, a concern in the digital design community. It can create some challenges when printing, but it looks great on screen (right, Facebook?). Furthermore, this blue is eye-catching when used in solid blocks.

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