Here’s Our Prediction for the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year

published Dec 4, 2017
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(Image credit: Jacqueline DuBois)

Every year since 2000, color giant Pantone has picked one shade (okay, in 2016 it was two shades) to be the Color of the Year. The announcement, which occurs in early December for the coming year, is a hotly anticipated event in the design world, and invariably produces a great deal of commentary and even controversy. Last year, resident seer Eleanor Busing was right on the money with a guess of leafy green, and this year, I’ve been tasked with predicting which way the design winds will blow. So of course I consulted the most design savvy people I know: my coworkers here at Apartment Therapy. Here’s what they had to say.

(Image credit: House & Garden)

Deep Red

Adrienne, our House Tour Editor, jumped into the ring (ok, the Slack chat) first with her prediction of tignanello red. She pointed out that Megan Markle loves this color so much that she named her (now defunct) lifestyle blog The Tig, but since the Markle/Windsor engagement was only made public last week, and it’s hard to imagine the Pantone folks as devoted royal watchers, I give this one an outside chance. (The Pantone crew has shown a propensity for shades in this color family, picking red or pink shades 9 of the 18 years that COTY has been in existence.)

(Image credit: Jacqueline DuBois)


Lifestyle Editor Taryn’s pick is teal green. Besides being, objectively, a very beautiful color, teal also speaks to the ’80s renaissance that we’re currently seeing in decor. I wonder if it might be a teeny bit too close to 2013’s Emerald, although, to be fair, that was five years ago. (Wild, right?)

(Image credit: Neptune)

Sage Green

Arlyn, our Design Editor, cast her vote for either teal or sage green. Sage green speaks to the current trend towards subtler, more desaturated colors, and there’s nothing like it on the current COTY spectrum. On the downside, last year’s color was also a green, but in the past Pantone has shown no hesitance about picking things in the red/pink family two years in a row.

(Image credit: Tara Bellucci)

Pale Yellow

And then there’s News & Culture Editor Tara’s pick of soft yellow, a color she says is “optimistic but not too in your face about it.” I find this one intriguing for a number of reasons. For one: as Tara pointed out, yellow has been conspicuously absent on the COTY lineup, only appearing with 2009’s Mimosa, which is more of a mustard yellow. For two: both Taryn and Arlyn admitted that, if they were betting, they’d go for a yellow, making yellow by far the most popular team choice. For three: the Color of the Year is, at least ostensibly, a reflection of the zeitgeist, and soft yellow looks a lot like Gen Z Yellow, a color that’s currently very big in the fashion world (and was originally popularized by an art movement celebrating people of color).

I’ve also considered the possibility of deep brown or black. Although they flirted with it with 2015’s Marsala, Pantone has never had the courage to go truly dark. But if I were a betting woman, like Taryn and Arlyn, I’d go with yellow. It’s different enough from previous offerings to seem truly fresh, and also, it feels like the right color for right now.

How well did the Apartment Therapy team do with their 2018 color predictions? STAY TUNED for the big reveal of Pantone’s next Color of the Year, coming sometime this week (we hope!).