Did The Simpsons Predicts Pantone’s Color of the Year?


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The Pantone Color of the Year is a calendar event that every designer keeps an eye on. Starting in 2000, the Color of the Year is as straightforward as it sounds. However, are there more nefarious forces at play? The team at Aspire Doors noticed something that may have just blown Pantone’s cover wide open. Kind of…

Before we get into their discovery, let’s discuss the Pantone Color of the Year and its significance…

What is the Pantone Color of the Year?

Pantone was founded in 1962 for the purpose of creating colour cards that would be used by cosmetics companies. The following year they changed course with their colour matching system otherwise known as PMS (Pantone Matching System). What this does is create a catalogue of all colours that can then be used around the world with consistency.

Having consistent colours is crucial for your branding or any other design project and with so many possible colours out there, it became necessary to standardise and quantify colour. Without being able to find and use a colour consistently, design projects would increase massively in logistics and time wasted.

In 2000, they launched the Colour of the Year and it has since made Pantone the global authority on colour. They have moved with the times as well. Before the internet, Pantone would provide solid colour ink printed on paper. They now work in CMYK as well as RGB and have documented and numbered thousands of solid colours for you to use in your web design projects.

How is the Pantone Colour of the Year Decided?

This is where Aspire Door’s discovery comes in. The COTY is supposed to represent the socio-economic conditions of the time and is decided by a number of different colour representatives around the world. They meet in secret to discuss and debate what it should be.

Taking pointers from fashion, art, politics, packaging, branding, film, travel destinations and more, they decide on a hue that best represents that year. Or do they?

The Simpsons-Pantone Connection

Here’s where the truth may lie. Since 2010, the Pantone Color of the Year can be observed in the living room of one of TV’s most famous families, The Simpsons.

As this post from Aspire Doors demonstrates, the 2019 Color of the Year ‘Living Coral’ matches the Simpsons’ skirting boards and thus completes the set from 2010 to 2019. 2013’s COTY ‘Emerald’ matches the carpet, the walls match the 2016 COTY, every part from the magazine rack to the rug can be linked to the Pantone Color of the Year.

Is this proof that Pantone gave up in 2010 and are just pointing to a different part of the Simpsons living room each year? We doubt it, but the coincidence definitely raises an eyebrow.

The Simpsons Future Predictions

This can be categorised as one of many future predictions that The Simpsons have got right. When Donald Trump ascended to the presidency in 2016, viewers remembered the 1998 episode ‘Bart to the Future’ where Donald Trump becomes president. Even the campaign posters were almost identical apart from the slogan. The Simpsons thought he’d opt for ‘America, you can be my ex-wife!’ instead of ‘Make America Great Again’.

This is just one prediction in a long list, from Las Vegas circus tiger attacks to the mass hysteria of the Higgs Boson particle; The Simpsons have had an uncanny ability to see into the future. So, are the writers time travellers?

Probably not.

The truth is, the Simpsons have been going for so long and the world around them has always informed their jokes. In 30 years of writing jokes based on current affairs, some of those scenarios are bound to come true. After all, Donald Trump expressed interest in running for the presidency as early as 1988, a whole decade before the ‘Bart to the Future’ episode and a year before the Simpsons’ first episode in 1989.

‘The Simpsons Did It Already’ is an online meme that is testament to this fact. In 30 years of the Simpsons, they’ve covered so much ground that so many hypothetical situations have already been explored by their writers. It’s made it really hard to come up with ideas for your own TV show, because pretty much anything you can think of has already been done by Matt Groening et al. So, there’s no need to believe in time travel just yet.


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