Skip to main content

These are Pantone's most uncomfortable colour tones

Colour authority Pantone is known for forecasting visual trends with its Colour of the Year, with 2020's Classic Blue offering some much-needed "calm, confidence and connection". But a new project has used the company's colour matching system to capture a much more uncomfortable reality of 2020.

'Pain Tone' features colours taken from footage of the killings of innocent black men, matching aspects to various colours from Pantone's library, with names such as Riot Flame Orange, Stun Gun Yellow and Chokehold Green. The project calls them "the world’s most uncomfortable colour tones". (Check out our guide to colour theory to find out more about the relationship between colour and design.)  

Created by Jean Quarcoopome (opens in new tab), art director at Ghanaian creative agency Insel Communications, along with art director Abdelrahman Galal (opens in new tab) and copywriter Pranav Sabharwal (opens in new tab), the project is designed to "serve as an immortal reminder in memoriam of each victim, whose last living moment was coloured by hate". The team used plane-tracking AR technology to match the colours against footage of police brutality.

Pain Tone

Three of "the world's most uncomfortable colour tones"  (Image credit: Jean Quarcoopome)

You can see the full list of 'Pain Tones' on Quarcoopome's LinkedIn page (opens in new tab). As well creating and naming the new tones, the team changed Pantone's 2020 colour of the year from Classic Blue to Transparent, as "a call to action for the world to choose to see through a person’s skin colour".

Pantone also recently showed support for the Black Lives Matter movement by teaming up with artist Fuzzed Up Bear (opens in new tab) to create a piece called 'Human Being' (above), featuring a black arm framed by Pantone's colour matching system. The piece also contains details for adding your name to the Colour of Change petition (opens in new tab), seeking justice for George Floyd after his death at the hands of Minnesota Police officers.

The creative community has come together in support of Black Lives Matter, with one artist even installing a temporary statue of a BLM protestor in Bristol last week. Here are some examples of creative projects supporting the movement, as well as information on how you can help.

Read more:

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).