Pantone’s colors of the year are here! And there’s a rad message behind the choice

We have been waiting with bated breath, and finally, Pantone has officially chosen their color(s) of the year. Yes, you read that right, and no, it’s not a typo: colorSSS. Plural!

For the first time in the history of EVER, the company that calls itself “the global authority on color” has selected two shades for Color of the Year 2016: a periwinkle color called “Serenity” and a rose hue named “Rose Quartz.” The intention? “Mindfulness and well-being,” according to Pantone’s press release:

The choice is most certainly a departure from last year’s wine-hued Marsala and 2013’s lush-green Emerald. In fact, pastels are something entirely new for this decade, if you check out Pantone’s past colors of the year.

Pantone’s Color of the Year program started in 2000, “as a sort of global mood ring. . . when Cerulean blue was named to capture Y2K angst,” Quartz notes. Ever since then, it’s been used not only as a fashion statement and an indicator of the times, but in marketing as well (just watch how many pastel blue and pink products will be hitting the market over the next several weeks). Here are Serenity and Rose Quartz, in all their glory:

Yeah, we know what you’re thinking: At first glance, the colors look like you stepped into a baby registry, with that light pink and baby blue. But the selection is also intended as a challenge to “traditional perceptions of color association,” according to Pantone. They write:

We can see that — after all, they’re just a few shades off from the Transgender Pride flag. And we’ve gotta say, when we see the colors together working their magic, it’s pretty gorgeous.

Serenity and Rose Quartz works fabulously for fashion, as well, giving us a rare combination of softness and ice:

And Rihanna’s been ALL OVER that:

However, not everyone’s buying the color combo, saying that the colors don’t work as a nod to gender equality, but rather reinforce gender roles. “The trend going into 2016 is clear: gender is less binary than ever,” writes Fast Company‘s John Brownlee. “So how do the color maestros over at Pantone decide to mark it? By releasing their first totally binary Colors of the Year. Meet Pantone 13-1520 TCX (Rose Quartz) and Pantone 14-3919-TCX (Serenity), which you probably know better by their street names: baby girl pink, and little boy blue. Jesus Christ, Pantone.”

One thing’s for sure — this one was a curveball indeed. Check out Pantone’s official announcement video here.

Related reading: 

Here is the official color of 2015 (in case you care about the color of 2015)

Colorblind people see colors for the first time and it’s magical

(Images via Twitter.)

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