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The future's bright, the future's Emerald.... (at least according to Pantone)

Pantone unveil their official colour for 2013.

December is a great month for marketing. Almost any product, in any genre, can be given added gusto by being included in the ubiquitous ‘best of 2012’ listings.

But whilst many of these labels have a commercial incentive, the ‘year’s best’ prefix is increasingly applying to ever more ephemeral things. Pantone – provider of professional colour standards for the design industry – has gone so far as to give each year of the past decade an official colour.

You may consider the random assimilation of pigments all around you the effect of light reacting on your retinas, but how wrong you’d be. Colours – according to Pantone - have independent, quantifiable values which change, year on year. So, what is the consensus on what the official colour of 2013? PANTONE® 17-5641 Emerald.

Surely, you might ask, this is a bit subjective? By no means – not all colours are created equal. Pantone explain that ‘The Color of the Year selection is a very thoughtful process’. They ‘quite literally comb the world’ in their search for the year’s official colour. This explains why last year - presumably as a result of the upbeat economic outlook - was voted to have the energising 'Tangerine Tango' as its colour of the year, whereas 2006 - with its light, subdued ambiance was, of course, ‘Sand Dollar’.

After designating an official 'Colour of the Year' a somewhat beleaguered copy writer (one imagines) has to spin at least three paragraphs on the particular psychological specifications which make that hue characteristic of our times.

So, emerald. You may consider it a mixture of yellow and blue pigments, but Pantone considers is something which will ‘enhance our sense of well-being’. Not just that, they explain:

‘Most often associated with brilliant, precious gemstones, the perception of Emerald is sophisticated and luxurious. Since antiquity, this luminous, magnificent hue has been the color of beauty and new life in many cultures and religions. It’s also the color of growth, renewal and prosperity – no other color conveys regeneration more than green. For centuries, many countries have chosen green to represent healing and unity.

Not envy, then.

Considering Pantone’s influence extends globally across the design world from fashion and accessories, to interiors and industrial design – you can anticipate emerald making a solid showing in 2013’s consumer market. 

Sceptics would be wise to note that the news of emerald’s new status has already been picked up by several news sources, who were quick to observe that the Duchess of Cambridge recently wore an emerald dress. What more proof do you need? There you have it – the collective unconscious laid bare.

Kamila Kocialkowska is a freelance journalist based in London.