Pantone Selects Colour of the Year for 2009

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News | Yves Peters | December 10, 2008

As we’re in the home stretch to the end of the year, the traditional “Best of” lists and year overviews are starting to pop up. Since 2000 Pantone elects a Colour of the Year. Last week “the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries”, announced PANTONE® 14-0848 Mimosa, a “warm, engaging yellow which embodies hopefulness and reassurance in a climate of change”, as the colour of the year for 2009. “In a time of economic uncertainty and political change, optimism is paramount and no other color expresses hope and reassurance more than yellow.” It succeeds last year’s PANTONE® 18-3943 Blue Iris, “a multifaceted hue reflecting the complexity of the world that surrounds us”.

Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®, explains:

The color yellow exemplifies the warmth and nurturing quality of the sun, properties we as humans are naturally drawn to for reassurance. Mimosa also speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation.

Best illustrated by the abundant flowers of the Mimosa tree and the sparkle of the brilliantly hued cocktail, the 2009 color of the year represents the hopeful and radiant characteristics associated with the color yellow. Mimosa is a versatile shade that coordinates with any other color, has appeal for men and women, and translates to both fashion and interiors. Look for women’s accessories, home furnishings, active sportswear and men’s ties and shirts in this vibrant hue.

The election of Mimosa yellow as Colour of the Year caught Erik Spiekermann’s attention. On his Spiekerblog he reminisces about the very early days of FontShop 20 years ago, when Alex Branczyk and himself designed the logo and graphic identity for the fledgeling company:

We thought light and dark would nicely represent the digital process of one and zero, as well as the process inside the laser printer. Black and white was too plain, so it became black and yellow. That colour scheme has become synonymous with FontShop and its products, like the FontFont library.

FontShop and The FontFeed, whose graphic identities prominently feature yellow with black and white elements, are of course delighted with this selection. You can rely on us for more than type expertise. We’ll “nurture and reassure” you too. ;)

Past Colours of the Year

  • 2000 | PANTONE® 15-4020 Cerulean Blue
    Chosen for the millennium for its calming zen state of mind.
  • 2001 | PANTONE® 17-2031 Fuchsia Rose
    A reversal from the previous year, more exciting, more feminine and sexy.
  • 2002 | PANTONE® 19-1664 True Red
    Recognizes the impact of 9/11 with a patriotic hue.
  • 2003 | PANTONE® 14-4811 Aqua Sky
    A cool blue meant to restore hope and serenity.
  • 2004 | PANTONE® 17-1456 Tiger Lily
    Acknowledges the hipness of orange, with a touch of exoticism.
  • 2005 | PANTONE® 15-5217 Blue Turquoise
    Another reversal to a calming shade.
  • 2006 | PANTONE® 13-1106 Sand Dollar
    A neutral color that expresses concern about the economy.
  • 2007 | PANTONE® 19-1557 Chili Pepper
    Chosen for its pizazz and sophistication and its hint of ethnic taste.
  • 2008 | PANTONE® 18-3943 Blue Iris
    A mix of blue and purple that suggests dependability and magic.

Header image: Mimosa stock photo © Josep Altarriba


  1. Was FontShop’s founding in the late ’80s and its choice of color a reflection of the same need for optimism in a similar economic climate?

    Posted by Chris Hamamoto on Dec. 10, 2008
  2. Deep thoughts from FontShop designer Chris Hamamoto!

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Dec. 10, 2008
  3. In my newsletters I am using a colour for each month. This months colour is purple but in some or other way I felt that Yellow must also be there. Mybe because it is the colmplematary colour. I was so surprise to see that purple was the colour for 2008 and that yellow is the colour for 2009.Thankyou for this info

    Posted by johanna on Feb. 14, 2009
  4. i need latest colours of this year..

    Posted by arjun soni on Aug. 16, 2009
  5. Any one know where to view each Pantone color of the year?

    Posted by Carina on Aug. 19, 2009
  6. There is the overview “Pantone Timeline – A New Year, A New Color.” in the New York Times article I found in my research, and you can check the press releases of each year in the News section on the Pantone Website.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Aug. 19, 2009
  7. Now I know what was the inspiration for the color in our 2009 version website. I was drawn to it early in the selection process. Since then, flyers, brochures, magazines, both in-print and online, have been popping up everywhere showing off this hue!

    Posted by Barb Bizub on Sep. 17, 2009
  8. Mimosa (or something very close to it) shows up in home furnishings.

    Posted by Stephen Coles on Jan. 11, 2010

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