My hit car colour of the year is Pantone’s colour of 2012

Orange cars have been (back) in for some time now and are slowly moving from motor show stands to supermarket car parks.

I dubbed it my Hit Car Colour of the Year back in May. This was a result of SO many new cars and motor show stars appearing in varying shades of orange.

Now, thanks to Pantone voting an orange hue its Colour of the Year 2012, its scope may soon stretch to the catwalk and the make-up counter, too.

In the car world, Bentley started the trend with the latest Continental GT back in November 2010. Today, VW Group brand partner is carrying it onto the road with orange Q3 and, from early next year, A1 Sportback.

(As is increasingly the case, Audi is launching the five-door A1 with a bespoke colour – Samoa Orange – ensuring it will probably be the marketing ‘brochure colour’ at the launch event. Expect to see a lot of it in early 2012)

Now, orange is set to gain official recognition as a cool colour, courtesy of the Pantone Matching System propriety colour space. Each year, it announces its Colour of the Year, one researched, debated and chosen to ‘connect with the zeitgeist’. And this year’s colour has been revealed.

Colour of the Year 2012

The 2012 Colour of the Year is Pantone 17-1463 Tangerine Tango. Yes, orange.

Why? Because it’s a vivacious, enticing hue, says Pantone: ‘The 2011 Color of the Year, PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle, encouraged us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange, continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward.’

As Pantone itself says, orange has grown in popularity and gained acceptance amongst both designers and consumers. Hence, receiving official validation from the colourspace masters for 2012.

What next for Tangarine Tango, then? Fashion, reckons Pantone: look out for it in the 2012 collections of Tommy Hilfiger, Nanette Lepore, Cynthia Steffe by Shaun Kearney, Elie Tahari and Adrienne Vittandini, it says.

Cosmetics, too: it’s apparently particularly good for eyeshadow, as it’s ‘a complementary opposite that flatters blue or green eyes. When paired with brown eyes, it brings out an amber cast.’

I’m curious to see what happens now, and will be looking to people who know much more about this stuff than I (chiefly, my girlfriend) to tell me how orange is making its way into High Fashion.

In the meantime… geeks (like me), do you want to recreate Tangerine Tango yourself? Try the CMYK code: 0/82/80/0. The official Pantone code is 17-1463. Hexadecimal? #FA500A will do it for you.

So… what IS the Pantone Colour of the Year?

A very thoughtful process, says Pantone. It scours the world for influences, from the entertainment industry, art collections, new artists, travel destinations ‘and other socio-economic conditions’. Not only that, continues Pantone, but influences also come from technology, including new textures and effects that can affect colour.

Influences even, get this, stretch to ‘upcoming sports events that capture worldwide attention’.

The Colour of the Year influences product development and purchasing decisions across multiple industries, continues Pantone: ‘fashion, home and industrial design… (even) product packaging and graphic design’. Who knew.

Past winners? Here’s a list, with the Pantone codes, colour-coded in hexadecimal:

• PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)

• PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise (2010)

• PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa (2009)

• PANTONE 18-3943 Blue Iris (2008)

• PANTONE 19-1557 Chili Pepper (2007)

• PANTONE 13-1106 Sand Dollar (2006)

• PANTONE 15-5217 Blue Turquoise (2005)

• PANTONE 17-1456 Tigerlily (2004)

• PANTONE 14-4811 Aqua Sky (2003)

• PANTONE 19-1664 True Red (2002)

• PANTONE 17-2031 Fuchsia Rose (2001)

• PANTONE 15-4020 Cerulean (2000)

 + My hit car colour of 2011

+ My hit car colour of 2010

+ From the Porsche archives: Carmine Red and the Panamera GTS