How Birds Inspired Pantone’s Color of the Year Tradition

Pantone, the global authority on color, has been announcing a color of the year since 2000. The chosen color reflects the mood, trends, and influences of the society and culture at the time. But how did this tradition start? And what role did birds play in it?

The idea of selecting a color of the year came from Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. She was inspired by a trip to the Caribbean, where she saw the clear blue sky and the cerulean sea. She thought that this color would be perfect for the new millennium, as it symbolized tranquility, optimism, and hope.

She also noticed that the color was popular among fashion designers, who used it in their collections. She decided to propose the color to Pantone, which agreed to launch it as the first color of the year in 2000. The color was named Cerulean, after the Latin word for sky, caeruleus.

How Birds Inspired Pantone’s Color of the Year Tradition
How Birds Inspired Pantone’s Color of the Year Tradition

The Bird Connection: The Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock

But there was another source of inspiration for Eiseman: a bird. She had seen a documentary about the Guianan cock-of-the-rock, a striking bird native to South America. The male bird has a bright orange crest and a cerulean blue body. Eiseman was fascinated by the contrast and harmony of these colors, and how they reflected the bird’s personality and behavior.

The Guianan cock-of-the-rock is a charismatic and confident bird, known for its elaborate courtship rituals. The male birds gather in groups called leks, where they display their plumage, bob their heads, and make loud calls to attract females. The females then choose the most attractive and dominant male to mate with.

Eiseman saw a parallel between the bird and the human society, especially in the context of the new millennium. She thought that the cerulean blue represented the calm and serene side of humanity, while the orange represented the vibrant and energetic side. She also thought that the color combination reflected the diversity and creativity of the world.

The Legacy of the Color of the Year

Since then, Pantone has been announcing a color of the year every December, based on extensive research and analysis of various fields, such as fashion, art, design, technology, politics, and social movements. The color of the year influences product development, marketing, branding, and consumer choices across industries and sectors.

Some of the most memorable colors of the year include Marsala (2015), a rich and earthy wine red; Greenery (2017), a fresh and zesty yellow-green; and Ultra Violet (2018), a deep and mystical purple. The color of the year for 2023 is Viva Magenta, a vibrant and fearless pink that celebrates life, courage, and passion.

The color of the year tradition has also inspired other organizations and institutions to select their own colors of the year, such as paint companies, fashion magazines, and even countries. For example, in 2021, Japan chose “Sakura Pink” as its color of the year, inspired by the cherry blossom season.

The color of the year is more than just a color. It is a reflection of the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times. It is a way of expressing and communicating the emotions, values, and aspirations of the society and culture. And it all started with a bird.

Category: Lifestyle Meta Description: Learn how Pantone’s color of the year tradition was inspired by a bird, and how it reflects the mood and trends of the society and culture. Slug: pantone-color-of-the-year-bird-inspiration

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