Pantone’s 2013 Spring Colors

loving - pantone spring 2013 colors

Last year, I broke down the fall colors Pantone picked into groups. Part of that was because I wasn’t sure I liked any of them, and part of that was to experiment with using them together. It was a lark, but I loved it so much I decided to do it again today with Pantone’s Spring 2013 colors.

I like pretty much all of the colors individually, but I really love them in groups. How about you? When I look at the colors on the right side, a bright cantina in Aruba or Cancun comes to mind. The colors on the left remind me of a beach at dusk. I’m clearly very ready for spring to come around with the brighter colors and warmer weather.

Since the full spectrum is represented this spring, it’s easy to apply the color relationships that we talked about earlier to the Spring Colors.


loving - pantone spring 2013 colors - analogous

These analogous combinations all work because the colors sit next to the color wheel. But what makes them pop is that each color has a different value or saturation, like we talked about in this post.

For example, look at palette #2, with Poppy Red, Nectarine, and Linen. Poppy Red is fully saturated, Nectarine is a touch lighter in value, and Linen is a lighter, grayer shade of red. Or palette #4, with Monaco Blue, African Violet, and Poppy Red. Monaco Blue has a darker value than the other two, African Violet is the lightest in value, and Poppy Red sits in the middle, value-wise.

These analogous groupings are a quick way to put together a color scheme. They are also great examples of how to make contrast, even in a basic color relationship like analogous colors, simply by changing up the values.


loving - pantone spring 2013 colors - complementary

Since we talked about analogous pairings, here’s what a few complementary groups look like with the Pantone Spring Colors.

Palette #1 should look familiar – I had something similar picked out on my 2013 Color of the Year post. I like this twist because it’s not as obvious as straight red and green. And I like #3 because of the addition of Linen; that, plus the bluer green of Emerald, keeps it from feeling too Christmas-y.

As for the other examples, #6 is a straight complementary pair with Lemon Zest and African Violet. Palette #4 is also a fairly straightforward complementary relationship, but the addition of the lighter Dusk Blue makes it interesting. As for #5, that’s two pairs put together (a.k.a. a double complement or tetrad relationship); Poppy Red matches with Grayed Jade, and Nectarine matches up with Monaco Blue. This group really works because each pair again has a different value and saturation.

Complementary groups are another easy way to put together a color scheme. The nice thing about the Spring Colors is that a lot of work is already done, as far as choosing a specific shade; it’s simply a matter of picking out which pair or group you like best, and making any adjustments you need to them (like making Nectarine a little more vibrant in #2, for example, or African Violet in #6 a little bolder).


loving - pantone spring 2013 colors - favorites

As for individual colors, my favorites this time around are Emerald, Grayed Jade, Linen, Monaco Blue, Nectarine, and Poppy Red. I like different combinations of those colors together; these pop for me, especially palettes #3 and #5 above.

So, what are the relationships of these groups? Palettes #1 and #2 look familiar because we just saw them and know they are complementary groupings. #6 is another example of a double complement/tetrad relationship, this time with Grayed Jade matching up to Linen, and African Violet matching up to Lemon Zest.

The others would all fall under the “random” color relationship category. Remember that one? They aren’t quite a split-complementary scheme; close, but not quite (and you can always shift the hues a little to make them be a split-complementary scheme if you like). The extra colors, like Poppy Red and Linen in #3, African Violet in #4, and Dusk Blue in #5, are what place these in a random scheme. And I think that’s exactly what makes them attractive.

These are just a few ways you can use color theory with the Spring Colors, but I know not everyone will want to use so many trend colors in one go. Next week, I’ll talk about using neutrals and quasi-neutrals to help showcase a bolder color choice (which happens to be a reader submitted question on the survey!).

Till then, your turn – what’s your favorite Pantone Spring Color? Which of these do you like together? Are you as happy with the picks as I am?



7 Responses to Pantone’s 2013 Spring Colors

  1. thankyou brandi,
    always helpful with your clear concise no fuss method when teaching colour theory
    brill! m 🙂