Use Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year without Bruising Your Brand

Well, it’s official. The Pantone 2014 Color of the Year is a pinkish-mauve purple named Radiant Orchid. If you lay it on thick and dark enough, it’s a dead ringer for a bruise on its third or fourth day. That’s not to say it’s a bad color. Just an observation.



Every year the color shamans at Pantone comb the world for color influences to help them predict the it color for the coming year. They take their cues from things like current technology, traveling art collections, the entertainment industry, and even upcoming major sports events. I think it’s fair to say they notice the trendiest color more than choose it.

While you’re likely to see Radiant Orchid make its way into clothing lines, cosmetics, print advertisements, and more, expect to see it sparingly in website design. To business owners, I say: Don’t bend over backward to jump on this bandwagon. The color hearkens back to the ‘80s, when it was extremely trendy and better known as mauve. Remember, mauve was to the ‘80s as avocado green and harvest gold were to the ‘60s. Trendy. In website design, trendy doesn’t usually fly well because websites need to have longevity and complement your logo.

Don’t get me wrong. No website should be built with the idea that it’s a one-time job. Websites need to stay fresh with periodic updates of their images and copy. Overall design, however, needs much less frequent updating. Having a design that carries over or complements colors from your logo is a must. That’s just design basics. Just as important, it reinforces your brand. You don’t see the likes of Pepsi tweaking its logo or website to conform to Pantone’s mandate!

On the other hand, even the likes of Pepsi can and will figure out ways to freshen their website with color trends. And they’ll do it the way I’d suggest other businesses do it—through their site’s photos, videos, and graphics that rotate throughout the year. Here I give you an example of just how Pepsi is already doing that. Right now, their home page spotlights the exclusive premier of a video by Beyoncé. It’s a little biopic showcasing how she’s been busting the same moves from childhood to motherhood. And it ends on the singer and her kiddos in a monochromatic shot that is—you guessed it—the color of a three-day-old bruise.