The Meaning Behind Pantone’s Color Of The Year

The Meaning Behind Pantone’s Color Of The Year

'SuperTrouper Scarlet Red Evol.' pot carnation

Tangerine Tango, a lively reddish orange hue, replaces Honeysuckle as Pantone’s Color of the Year in 2012. Now that the new and energizing swatch has been revealed, breeders and fashion designers alike will begin incorporating the color into everything from geraniums to evening gowns.


“Our breeding teams definitely watch for lifestyle and color trends each season,” says Katie Rotella, public relations manager at Ball Horticultural Company. “Of course, we would love to be the trend setters. But the length of time it takes to develop and bring flowers to market doesn’t always let us do that on the fly.

“We are devoted to keeping our customers updated with these consumer trends. This helps them supply the colors and products that will be interesting to home gardeners — whether it’s a specially called-out color like Tangerine, or a movement toward flower applications, such as hanging baskets and patio pots.”

Growers have an opportunity to produce an assortment of plants with Tangerine Tango-like blooms. Selecta North America’s ‘Sunrise XL Orange’ zonal geranium, ‘SuperTrouper Scarlet Red Evol.’ pot carnation, and ‘ColorPower Orange Flame’ New Guinea impatiens all sport various red-orange tints.

Ball Horticultural Company also has offerings with the vivacious color like ‘Can-Can Orange’ calibrachoa, ‘Fiesta Sunrise Red’ double impatiens and ‘Lucky Red Flame’ lantana.

As with past Color of the Year winners, however, the vibrant orange shade indicates more to industry professionals than a reminder to paint the greenhouse red.

“It’s not supposed to be a color guide, it’s meant to be a spirit of the age,” says Terri Coldreck, a retail marketing consultant who researched how the winning hues were selected.

Coldreck notes that the color reflects the times. Turquoise (2010) inspired relaxation in a time when the economy began to fail; Honeysuckle (2011) challenged people to confront their troubles and power through the exhaustion of everyday life.

“Tangerine Tango is an energy boost to recharge and move forward,” Coldreck says. “It isn’t about whether Tangerine Tango is something you need to rush out and buy, to change your signage. It’s about understanding why [Pantone] chose the color and it’s about the mood of the country, and using that idea to say, ‘OK, what types of products are we going to use? Does our signage reflect where our customers are living?’

“Colors are about emotions. Does our advertising, product mix, do our special events–do all of those things support the idea of where the emotions of our customers are? People needed to see the happy colors and the energy of color. Yellow and oranges are particularly energetic colors.”