Pantone Color of 2016 could bring more watercolor-inspired design to beauty packaging

January 22, 2016
4 min read

Pantone, the global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industries, has chosen two colors as its Color of the Year for 2016: Rose Quartz (#13-1520) and Serenity (#15-3919). Rose Quartz presents as a gentle rose hue, and Serenity as a light blue. Pantone sees the combination of the two as a perfect way to reach harmony and balance, which is much desired going into 2016 after a turbulent 2015. Rose Quartz represents warmth and compassion, while Serenity’s blue tones inspire calmness and relaxation.

By introducing the two colors, Pantone offers beauty and fashion industries, among many others, color options that suggest balance and reassurance. Indeed, looking at the beauty and personal care consumer, Mintel research show that consumers around the world are searching for balance and well-being when they shop for beauty and personal care products. In the US, nearly half of consumers think that lifestyle influences the appearance of their skin, which is the second most important factor after cleansing. In China, facial skincare users make clear links between lifestyle, fitness and the condition of their skin, with 72% wanting to improve their skin by improving the quality of their sleep, 64% wanting to eat a more balanced diet and 59% wanting to get more exercise.

Category and product blurring is not new, and it feels natural that Pantone would blur colors going into 2016. This will present many opportunities for brands to express their values to consumers in the form of novel designs and products. Beauty product packaging is one of the areas where designers  have the freedom to express trends, moods and styles through a variety of combinations. Rose Quartz and Serenity should find appeal in all finishes such as matte, metallic and glossy, and be able to convey the message of balance and well-being.

How brands can leverage Pantone colors

In 2016, a variety of combinations of Rose Quartz and Serenity will be used in beauty and personal care launches, as it is common to get inspiration for new collections from Pantone hues. For example, every year Sephora releases limited edition color cosmetics sets with colors and packaging inspired by Pantone. The collection is called “Sephora + Pantone Universe,” and the company has already released the preview for the Rose Quartz and Serenity collection.

It seems that the beauty industry is especially excited about the new colous for 2016 since they provide a great number of pairing options with mid-tones such as greens and purples. Additionally, Rose Quartz and Serenity match with almost any skin tone. For color cosmetics such as lip, cheek and eye palettes, it represents many opportunities to offer new products. The two Pantone colors used in packaging are also predicted to draw consumer attention with more subtle, calming and natural looks on shelf.

Matte Lipstick      Modern Watercolors Eyes Palette

Sephora – Pantone Universe collection 2016

An inspiration for watercolor designs

Beyond using Rose Quartz and Serenity in packaging colors, we expects to also see these new colors inspire novel packaging designs or bring a new look to existing ones. Watercolors create lines, shades and shapes that are fluid and organic and tend to convey a message of naturalness and warmth. We’ve seen many watercolor-inspired designs used on secondary packaging in skincare and color cosmetics categories. For example, Herbal Essences uses watercolor designs on the labels of its shampoo range Hello Hydration. Color Prevails is another company that uses watercolors in packaging for its color cosmetics, positioning its approach to beauty as a more artistic one. With new Rose Quartz and Serenity colors conveying a similar message of well-being and tranquility, more brands might use watercolor designs in packaging in 2016.

Compact Foundation  Hand and Nail CreamMoisture & Shine Shampoo

Giffarine Active Young Compact Foundation; Banks & Co Green Pear & Guava Hand and Nail Cream; The Clairol Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Shampoo

What we think

As consumers seek to achieve balance, well-being and healthy looks from their beauty and personal care products, the 2016 Pantone colors Rose Quartz and Serenity might be the perfect combination to convey this message. Joined together, these two colors embrace the warmer rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue. Color blurring will offer inspiration for novel package designs or new variations of existing designs such as watercolors. Rose Quartz and Serenity are likely to fit with many natural products that want to express product attributes through modern package designs and stand out on shelf.

Viktorija Gnatoka is a Global Packaging Analyst at Mintel, where she is responsible for delivering packaging insights and actionable recommendations across multiple categories.

Viktorija Gnatoka
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