Pantone Color of The Year 2013 – The Contenders!

image via Pantone / Xrite

The 2013 Pantone Color of The Year webinar will convene on December 13, when you can tune in to Re-Do it Design to check out what the world’s authority on color standardization and trends has to say about the year in color to come! I am kissing good-bye with kleenex in hand on the 13th.

There are several possible contenders for the Color of The Year spotlight; let’s talk suspects and evidence to see if we can come up with some best-guess scenarios, based on the precedent behaviors of the color industry at large.

As always, Pantone announced the Spring line-up for the year to come in the September prior,  placing  Monaco Blue in the position of lead color – we’ll get back to Monaco blue, but The Spring Fashion Report Color Line-up also included several other suspects:

Emerald and Grayed Jade, and the rest of the list is as follows: Linen, Poppy Red, African Violet, Tender Shoots, Lemon Zest, and Nectarine. So who stands out for Color of The Year? There is some tantalizing evidence. I am going to discuss the more prominent contenders.

Pantone 2013 Spring Fashion Report Colors

Yes, these are fashion, not home colors. The trends for Home and Interiors emerge every February, but always tip their hat to the Fashion Report – and why not? Most people have a far more defined sense of color in relationship to clothing. Clothing is not necessarily an accurate gauge of colors that will work in your home, but if the paint and furniture store feel like over-whelming prospects to you, a look in your closet may be offer a scaled-down place to begin looking for inspiration.

Here are Colors of The Year that span very nearly the past 13 years:

Colors of The Year for the past 13 Years assembled

If you stack the colors of choice in 5-year increments, some patterns emerge. If history means anything at all, we are in line for something in the blue-green range. Poppy red is, I think, a band-aid for people like myself who are pouting at the surrender of Tangerine Tango’s title.

So let’s go back to Monaco Blue. From a painter’s perspective Monaco Blue is a cross between ultramarine and cobalt blue. As 2013 Color of the Year, Monaco Blue would be Tangerine Tango’s somber sister. Yet there is enough evidence to make the case for Monaco Blue; Monaco took the lead in this announcement for a webinar that was sadly canceled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy – I think Pantone appropriately deemed “Happiness” an oblivious banner to carry on the heals of such a historical disaster – but the banner shows the Spring lead color in the prominent center of the Autumn / Winter Color Planner.

Pantone Color Ad – image from Pantone

This was my best guess throughout the year, until consideration of prominent competitors – every player in the industry wants to be considered an expert, and rightfully so – many are. But all roads lead back to Pantone’s predictions.

If you watch trends, supporting evidence can be gleaned from Pantone’s competitors, too. Competitors don’t wan to be seen as “wanna-be’s” and almost never base their color of the year predictions directly on Pantone’s elected color.

image via




There is a really pretty color trends site called, that has made their annual color of the year prediction for 2013 . Colour Futures is an extension of AzkoNobel and their color color predictions are based on the “collective research and interpretations of AkzoNobel’s Aesthetic Center to form ColourFuturesTM“.  They are a huge corporate umbrella that includes a decorative paints division holding inclusive of  Glidden, The Freshaire Choice, Ralph Lauren Paint and Devoe paints; so a qualified trend authority.  See the image above, right? In a paint palette the one above is ultramarine blue. Pantone’s Monaco blue below is a more cobalt hue of a Cerulean blue range – but to the untrained eye they are nearly identical.

Benjamin Moore Color of The year – Lemon Sorbet 2019-60

Benjamin Moore’s Color of 2012, Wyeth Blue

Benjamin Moore announced their color of the year, which I posted an article on, touting Lemon Chiffon as this year’s ad-hock neutral. It’s a really lovely shade, and very close in range to Pantone’s Lemon Zest. Benjamin Moore NEVER chooses a color of the year close in range to Pantone’s – it is always based on a side-kick in the fashion report. Benjamin Moore’s color of 2012 was Wyeth Blue; a color in the Pantone Grayed Jade range. They did preceded Tangerine Tango with a nearly identical shade in 2011, but none the same – my best educated guess would eliminate both Lemon Sorbet and Grayed Jade.

A tantalizing ad popped up in my email last week or so…

A recent Pantone Ad – image via Pantone

Could Nectarine or Emerald take center stage in 2013? Give me a moment to close my eyes and wax on the possibilities…..

A reef image from National Geographic


image via


image via A stylish nest blog

Ok, I’m back……

I love the coral and emerald combo, but only one color can rule.  One could make some case for apricot – I have been seeing loads of coral popping up in furnishings as of late – it go along with the trends toward out-of-season use of pastels, which I rather like for its rebellious convention – but apricot is so in-line with Tangerine Tango – I’m just not convinced.

Emerald however is a contender. If you stack the evidence, Monaco Blue is still a suspect, but I would really not mind being completely wrong in favor of Emerald!

What about Pantone Linen?

Pantone Linen – image via

It’s also shot – the move toward pastels has been a marked trend as of late, but that can be attributed to Spring – my money is not quite on Pantone Linen, although a very similar shade took the color of the year stage in 2006….

African Violet offers the purple range some well-earned hope. Purple, despite its unprecedented prominence in the trades and the home decor market place has never enjoyed a stint in the spot light of color of the year – but purple will forever be saddled with adolescent stereotype-cast stigma. I think allot of closet purple-lovers out there would really enjoy that day in the sun….

And finally – no, not quite done yet – and no – this is not a color that has appeared in the forecast prior to this ad, but I am throwing in a wild card for consideration. I received this ad from Pantone a few weeks back, with a lead color that raised my brow at the screen.

Pantone Color Card Ad 2013-2014 – image from Pantone

This came out of left field and is going to be a color of significance in Fall – maybe Color of 2014? We can mull that later….

Don’t forget to stop back on December 13th to see which suspect will do time as Pantone’s Color of The Year for 2013!

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