I’ve Got the Classic Blues

pantone-color-of-the-year-2020-classic-blue

If you’ve seen the hype (or have a daughter who’s a graphic designer), you know by now that the Pantone Color of the Year is Classic Blue. The Pantone Color Institute offers an explanation for their choice:

A timeless and enduring blue hue, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue is elegant in its simplicity. Suggestive of the sky at dusk, the reassuring qualities of the thought-provoking PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.

Imprinted in our psyches as a restful color, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge. Aiding concentration and bringing laser like clarity, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue re-centers our thoughts. A reflective blue tone, Classic Blue fosters resilience.

As technology continues to race ahead of the human ability to process it all, it is easy to understand why we gravitate to colors that are honest and offer the promise of protection. Non-aggressive and easily relatable, the trusted PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue lends itself to relaxed interaction. Associated with the return of another day, this universal favorite is comfortably embraced.

Narcissus_Daffodils_DBG_LAH_7193Hokay. I get it. They’re feeling overwhelmed and they want to be comforted. Unfortunately, I don’t find this color comforting. It’s depressing. It’s muddy. Just looking at it leaves me cold. Classic Blue makes me want to crawl under a blanket and wake up in 2021, when hopefully they’ll choose a more cheerful and uplifting color, like Daffodil.

In the past, colors have included vibrant orange Tiger Lily, luscious pink Honeysuckle, and last year’s  Living Coral, a warm, friendly hue. Even the muted tan Sand Dollar, pale periwinkle Serenity, or pastel Rose Quartz were pretty in their own way. But Classic Blue? I think it’s ugly.

Don’t misunderstand me. Blue can be a beautiful color. In fact, it’s the most popular “favorite color” there is. Just think of all the shades of blue there are: Delicate baby blue. Pretty sky blue. Intense royal blue… or even that basic blue color of your first set of crayons.

As I have in the past, I’d planned to devote a January post to flowers in the color of the year. As a gardener, I particularly love blue flowers, but flowers don’t come in Classic Blue, at least not in nature. (I suppose you could always dye them.) The closest I came was my old favorite, the Bachelor Button (aka Cornflower). Now, cornflower blue—that’s a lovely shade. Why didn’t they pick that?

So what’s a trendy gardener to do? Thankfully, Pantone doesn’t just offer one color. They carefully choose an entire palette of colors that coordinate with one another. At least a few of these are an improvement, but in general, in order to hold up to such a strong color, the palette colors are also rather harsh.

I’ve decided to ignore Classic Blue this year and choose one of their coordinating colors instead—Space Cherry (PANTONE 20-0075 TPM). I will grow cherry red poppies, cherry red bee balm, and beautiful cherry red zinnias for cutting. Take that, Classic Blue!

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