Every year since 2000, the company has chosen a color that reflects the current cultural climate. In the following year, the color has historically influenced trends in all facets of design—architecture, interior décor, fashion, food, travel—the list goes on.
Greenery signifies beginnings: a fresh New Year; healthier food resolutions and growing vegetarian trends; grass and the outdoors during spring and summer.
But most prominently, the yellow-green hue (specifically, Pantone 15-0343) comments on the concept of “environment.”
Most obviously, “environment” today refers to the “go-green” movement—which, while not a revolutionary idea in 2017, has reached a crescendo this year. Pantone has even partnered with Airbnb to create an experience in nature inspired by the color.
“There’s a growing desire to reconnect with Nature and what is real, and find ways to disconnect from technology. We need a break. We need to stop and breathe,” Laurie Pressman, the Pantone Color Institute’s vice president, told to FORBES. “(Greenery) is about unity and community—connecting to oneself and others and a higher purpose, Nature.”
But beyond just the natural environment, the color reflects the divided social and political landscape. Contrary to what many have reported, the selection of Greenery wasn’t directly influenced by the green of money or the recent election. “Nature is free, and the color isn’t meant to be partisan,” Pressman said.
Greenery is not a “green with envy” hue, unlike 2013’s color of the year, Emerald, which symbolized luxury. Greenery actually taps into the opposite: minimalism. Pressman referred to a motto by fashion designer Vivienne Westwood that partly inspired Pantone to choose Greenery: “Buy less, choose well, make it last”—a concept that also influenced one of Westwood’s collections. Pressman additionally cited how companies such as H&M have started environmentally-friendly lines, often made with recycled materials.
“At New York Fashion Week, the designers were explaining how we live in this modern world where technology will always exist, but there’s this need to turn to design to go to the opposite side, to Nature,” Pressman said.
Appropriately, Greenery was especially prominent on this year’s runways, walking in various forms at Gucci, Kenzo, Bagelencia, Michael Kors, Zac Posen, and Cynthia Rowley.
Pantone calls Greenery “Nature’s neutral”—a hue more prominently worn during spring and summer, but one they encourage people to wear as a statement color year round.
Dating back to the ’90s, Pantone has released a Spring 2017 Color Report—or a selection of 10 trending colors—each September during Fashion Week. Though the color of the year doesn’t isn’t always included in the 10, Greenery made it into this year’s selection, which was crafted based on a theme of nature, as well.
“(The 10 colors) fully capture the promises, hope, and transformation that we yearn for each Spring,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said of the Spring 2017 Fashion Color Report in the press release.
Along with the unveiling of the color of the year, Pantone created a selection of 10 palettes pairing Greenery with neutrals, pastels, brights, deeper tones, metallics, and even the two 2016 colors of the year, Rose Quartz and Serenity.
Ultimately, Greenery calls to mind the ‘re-’ words: refresh, revive, restore, renew, replenish, regenerate, rejuvenate, reinvigorate, re-oxygenate. Design is an outlet for all of these fresh beginnings. And the yellow pigment in Greenery references the sun, the symbolic light that people need in these times.