Spring Color Update: The Psychology of Pastels

Posted April 01, 2015 by Shoshana Burgett

Warm weather is just around the corner and spring is in the air!

Fluffy yellow chicks…

Delicate pink tulips…

Soft green sprouts poking through the ground…

And, of course, spring M&Ms!


Advertisers target our springtime emotions through pastel colors. Pastels have a calming effect, and everywhere you look companies are using them to feed our desire to feel a bit of spring.

Today we’ll take a look at the psychology of color, how marketers use this information to capture our attention, and Pantone’s influence on spring palettes.

Color in Marketing

Color is light and light is energy. Color can stimulate and excite us. It can make us feel happy, tranquil… or even depressed. We experience the psychological effects of color all day. It’s subconscious, yet effective.

In addition to identifying brands, colors can actually draw us to certain products. Marketers know this, and they use it to their benefit.

Studies show that red can actually increase our pulse, blood pressure and adrenaline, hence the red Nike swoosh. When combined with yellow, red can make us feel hungry.  McDonald’s, anyone? Orange makes us feel happy and excited and is a great way to entice us to buy something. Yellow makes us think of sunshine and can be used to grab our attention in a comforting way.

Spring is the perfect time for marketers to target our emotions. You can’t help but feel happy. It’s a time of rebirth, renewal, and rejuvenation.

Pastels are less saturated than primary colors, making them feel light, soft, and calming. For spring, they work well with neutral colors to create a feeling of earthiness and sophistication.

Pantone’s Influence

Pantone plays a major role in the way marketers design and implement their spring campaigns. Each year during New York Fashion Week, the company releases the PANTONE Fashion Color Report, which is a comprehensive overview of the way designers are using color in their upcoming collections.

This spring the focus is on cooler, softer, pale pastels and subtle warm tones to evoke our love our nature. This year’s palette, “En Plein Air,” intends to help us unplug from technology and step into a soothing escape from life’s everyday stressors.

Here are the beautiful colors Pantone has selected for this palette.


 Pantone spring color fashion report marsala PANTONE 18-1438

Our color of the year, Marsala serves as the foundation of the palette. It’s a rich color that exudes confidence, warmth and richness.
 Pantone spring color fashion report aquamarine PANTONE 14-4314

Aquamarine is a calming blue with an airy feel, chosen to instill rest and reduce stress.
 Pantone spring color fashion report scuba blue PANTONE 16-4725

Scuba Blue is invigorating, pleasant and exciting, and inspires playfulness.
 Pantone spring color fashion report lucite green PANTONE 14-5714

Lucite® Green is a minty, refreshing take, a green from the past.
 Pantone spring color fashion report classic blue PANTONE 19-4052

Classic Blue inspires thoughtfulness and introspection through its strong waterborne qualities.
 Pantone spring color fashion report toasted almond PANTONE 14-1213

Timeless and versatile, Toasted Almond brings balance to the coolness of the spring color palette.
 Pantone spring color fashion report strawberry ice PANTONE 16-1720

Strawberry Ice suggests a delicious summer desert, yet is warm and appealing as a color.
 Pantone spring color fashion report tangerine PANTONE 15-1247

Energizing yet not overwhelming, Tangerine is a striking, fun-loving color.
 Pantone spring color fashion report custard PANTONE 13-0720

Custard just sounds delicious. It’s cheering and inspires thoughts of mellow warmth and good feelings.

Keep your eyes open!

It will be exciting to watch how designers and marketers utilize these engaging, earthy pastels in their spring campaigns.

What will you buy without realizing you were influenced?

Questions? Need a Quote? Contact Us(888) 800-9580