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Yesterday morning, the color experts over at Pantone gave us an early Christmas present, their dual selection for the 2016 swatches of the year: Rose Quartz and Serenity. It does come as a surprise with an almost absence of pastel tones in most trend reports for spring lines and yet presents us with more substance than any passing color fad. These non-aggressive, calming colors present us with a conscious decision for peace and understanding.

Pantone tells a beautiful story with these colors. However, pastels are not always the easiest to work into everyday design and styling. Outside of bakeries, Easter, and children’s clothing, not much attention is given to these muted hues. My natural instinct as a young designer is to pull focus off more vivid, “cliché” tones and surround them with neutrals, leading your attention to a less passive scheme. I want my audience to engage with the colors and not feel overwhelmed.

As I was digging for inspiration and researching the history of these 2016 colors, I was trying to find an appropriate example of their subtle contrast, but there was something familiar about this color combo, something familiar I couldn’t quite place my finger on it. Two colors slowly fading into one another (some call this an ombre, but I prefer the term gradient) creates a strong oppurtunity for a dark silhouette. I couldn’t help but feel a hint of déjà vu, as if I’d seen this exact color story before. A simple melody going round in my head and slowly my thoughts came to focus… that could only mean one thing.




A heartbreak theme paired with a masculine perspective. Focused and bold messaging juxtaposed against soft, bright and open backgrounds. I hate to address such an already existing and passing cultural phenomena but what else could perfectly demonstrate Pantone’s vision than that of trend creator himself Drake. Maybe I’ve watched the ‘Hotline Bling’ video too many times, but as the most streamed artist of the year, it’s not impossible to look past coincidence. Drake has always been a trend setter, with an eye for aestheitcs, and from the opening scene to closing, he gives us a fresh perspective on design coloring and the use of space, challenging his viewers with even the simplest choreography and movements.




Here’s to people who push us and push culture along. So thanks to Drake and Pantone for breathing new life into these pastels. In a year dominated by the bright neons of 90s style, it’s a breath of fresh air.


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