Ward off the Blues with Pantone’s 2011 Colour of the Year: Honeysuckle Pink

Get in the pink with the hottest hue for 2011: Honeysuckle

Credit: Courtesy Pantone, Inc.

Honeysuckle pink is Pantone, Inc.’s 2011 Colour of the Year

Each year in the design world, trends emerge that guide our decisions and influence our buying habits, whether it’s the resurgence of wallpaper as a chic choice or the cocktail craze that has us suddenly serving up Manhattans

We can probably thank the producers of Mad Men for our boozy bent of late, but when it comes to colours, it’s Pantone, Inc. that we look to as the company’s gurus boldly declare an annual colour that reflects our collective outlook on the world.

For 2011 it’s honeysuckle pink (Pantone 18-2120), shown above.

Yes, I know. Honeysuckle flowers are usually white or yellow. But let’s not argue about flora (and believe me, the Twitterverse is chirping with dissenting opinions). The focus is really about pink and why this Colour of the Year matters. Read on for a mini history lesson on Pantone and what it’s all about.

Pantone: A Colourful History

For the uninitiated, Pantone, Inc. was founded in the sixties by Lawrence Herbert, who invented a system to provide accurate colour matching in the graphic design industry. Today, Pantone is considered a world authority to industries like fashion, media and manufacturing.

For the last decade, after bringing together the multi-tinged opinions of design-savvy experts, Pantone has proclaimed a Colour of the Year. And that hue, predictably, is strutted out on fashion catwalks and confidently displayed on store shelves.

Colour Cues: Moods, Economics and More

Remember 2010? Who could forget how the economic downturn doldrums that made us hide our heads under a pillow, hoping for brighter, blue-sky days ahead. Last year, turquoise was tops for Pantone, plus this dreamy hue ably complemented its 2009 pick—mimosa—that shade of freshly squeezed orange juice addled with a splash of champagne.

The gist of it: Turquoise served as an escape. Think of that beach-bound getaway to the Caribbean—if you could afford it—and the resulting armloads of cheery blue accessories we brought home to add a little oomph to our interiors. Sure, we may have continued to bury our heads under a pillow, but that pillow wasn’t a sombre shade of grey, was it? Turquoise became our true blue.

Honeysuckle Equals Happiness

If turquoise represented our escape from doom and gloom, then honeysuckle is making us face the music. According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®, “In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating colour that gets the adrenalin going—perfect to ward off the blues.”

Before you dismiss the power of pink, or any other colour for that matter, consider that other unlikely economic indicator: the lipstick. That’s right, the Leading Lipstick Indicator, a term coined by Leonard Lauder (yes, that Lauder), isn’t a fallacy.

Time and again, the research bears out: when the economy dips, we spend on our lips. So if we’re painting our kissers pink, it stands to reason that we’d be bring a hint of honeysuckle into other areas of our home. As Pantone puts it, Honeysuckle pink is “a brave new colour for a brave new world.”

Honeysuckle Pink Sentiments

The reaction to this year’s hot hue seems to fall into two distinct camps: the “yays!” and the “yechs.”

I admit; my pink pulse is hardly racing. Maybe it’s because my childhood bedroom was wrapped in pink, from the walls to the coordinating Cinderella bedding and curtains. (Who could sleep in a room with all that energetic and courageous colour!?) I have shunned pink for decades, but I’m willing to give it another go, in small doses.

The bold, but not brash, honeysuckle pink is already starting to emerge, and expect it to be the belle of the ball this spring. Keep in mind that the colour pink doesn’t necessarily equate Barbie dolls and Cinderella curtains. It can be a powerful colour.

Just ask feted designer Karim Rashid (I did, actually. Read my interview with Rashid about why he loves pink.), who notes that GQ mag once told him that he made pink masculine.

Think Pink: How to Bring Honeysuckle Home

Ready for some pops of pink? Start small with a few bursts of colour as seen in these Marimekko cushion covers bearing the iconic Unikko motif.

Toss a pair on your neutral-toned sofa for an instant update. Can’t you feel your mood improving already?

Purveyors of posh, the Cross Decor & Design can always be relied on for a few pink picks, like the Tsuga counter stool.

Imagine it propped next to a Carrara marble island, crisp white with signature grey veining.

Already committed to the colour? Consider a huge hit of the hue in the shape of curtains delicately pooling on the floor.

Clarke & Clarke’s new Cavali fabric (available through Crown Wallpaper & Fabrics) from its Firenze collection is a glam choice.

The colour: Candy. Combine it with accents in creamy caramel, dark chocolate and a maybe even a dash of custard yellow.

The look can only described as oh-so-sweet.