Classic blue is colour for 2020

Representing peace and tranquility, the colour is already a wardrobe staple but lends itself to experimentation
Last Updated 22 December 2019, 11:52 IST

Every year in December the Pantone Color Institute announces a ‘Color of the Year’ that would represent the upcoming year — a tradition started 20 years ago. Experts in the
institute study a range of influences such as fashion, sports, interior design, politics, advertisement, travel, socio-economic factors and social media for this.

The institution has picked ‘Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue’ as the colour of the year 2020, a shade similar to ‘the sky at dusk’.

Describing the colour as calm, elegant, timeless and enduring, the paint company says that classic blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human mind and fosters
resilience. Stressing on the fact that such a colour is the need of the hour at a time of political, social and environmental uncertainty, Pantone said the ‘colour is meant to be an antidote to the stresses of everyday life in 2020, particularly due to technological advances’.

Metrolife spoke to experts from the field of fashion, interior design and advertising to know how the trend will take form in India.


Yogesh Kabra, founder of apparel brand ‘XYXX’, calls the shade ‘ridiculously laid-back and effortlessly chic’. A wardrobe staple for most men, classic blue is here to stay, he says.

“It is an ambitious and futuristic colour. It brings back that feel-good factor in fashion. The vibrant and energetic vibe encourages one to push themselves and think out of the box. It is both an ode to all things traditional and a sign of better times to come,” says Yogesh.

Get the look right

Use the colour in moderation and restrict it to accents or as a complementary element. You can also experiment with a monochrome look.

“Crisp, clean whites are a go-to with classic blue; it spells refined tastes and minimalism. A hint of silver will work great for a night out. For the daring ones, a vibrant orange will make a bold statement. A buttery yellow would be both cool yet classy as a pairing. When in doubt, shades of grey work wonders,” recommends Yogesh.

But will the colour be accepted by all? Designer Anjali Bhaskar of label ‘Samatvam’ believes so, especially because it is a universal colour and is accepted across genders, age-group
and industries.

“The hue has a slightly mystic appeal, which is calming and pleasing to the eye. It also looks good on all skin types. With many people being open to experimentation these days, it can also be incorporated in makeup, luxe jewels, home decor products and furnishings,” she says.

Anjali says that she herself has always found the colour calming and soothing. With blue symbolising qualities like trust, loyalty, wisdom and truth, she feels that it will bring some stability to a world racked by climate change, protests and economic crisis.

How can you style classic blue?

A head-to-toe outfit in the same hue looks great but classic blue, a primary colour, also complements other hues. For a daytime event, pair it with brighter shades like pink or yellow; these can be in the form of a shirt or top or accessories such as jewellery, shoes or bags. To make the colour look richer, choose velvet or silk fabrics in blue, embellished with thread embroidery or ‘zardosi’ work.

Home decor

Basshobe Majumdar, VP-Design, HomeLane, says that this colour can be used as a canvas to bring forth other elements or as a neutral colour.

“Classic blue has its own persona yet it is not overpowering. For example, if you want to define your seating area, place the coffee table on a classic blue accent rug — it takes in the colour of the teak or wood beautifully. Similarly, to define the curtains, this colour can be used as a backdrop. It will cut sunlight yet give you warmth. The front layer of the curtain can be lime or peach, for a vibrant look, or shimmery and velvet for a demure yet classy look.”

In interior design, classic blue can be used as an accent, in the form of a wall, sofa or kitchen cabinets. However, if a space is narrow or small, don’t go overboard. “Refer to the Pantone shade card - ‘exotic tastes’ - and play around with the ‘Rhubarb’ (maroon), ‘Mango’ (orange), ‘Honey’ (mustard), ‘Bayberry’ (green) colours,” says Basshobe.

While in winter the proportion of blue should be higher, use the hue in lesser amount during summer, to brighten up the space. One can also pair it with lime green and other fruity colours.

For an office space

Keep in mind the type and size of the room.

Classic blue can be used in meeting rooms — the calming hue puts the mind to rest. “In a closed space like a smaller meeting room, use it less, preferably at eye-level. Avoid painting the ceiling blue because that would make one feel suffocated or claustrophobic,” says Basshobe. In a large open space, use large swathes of blue, with windows as breaks.

Advertisers see shift towards blue...

Rajesh B S, brand strategist, Ad6 Advertising, equates blue with trust, loyalty and relaxation in advertising and branding, as per the ‘Colour Emotion Guide’. “Though most Indian clients still follow their own brand colour, in recent times they are showing more interest to adapt and follow trends in terms of fonts, colours and shades,” he says.

Have clients started requesting for classic blue yet? “Yes, we have been receiving requests from our clients and we are glad that they are open to such changes. It helps them get identified and stand apart from the competitors. One of our clients, who used India red as their brand colour, has requested for classic blue now and we are working on a few exclusive designs for them,” he says.

What is Pantone Color Institute

Pantone Color Institute is a well known and respected governing body on color worldwide. It is headquartered in New Jersey. The Pantone Color Institute is the business unit within Pantone that highlights the top seasonal runway colors, selects the Pantone Colour of the Year, forecasts global colour trends, and advises companies on colour for product and brand visual identity.

(Published 22 December 2019, 11:43 IST)

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