For the first time in three years, Pantone is releasing a new hue called Minion Yellow. Based on the Minions from the Despicable Me global film franchise, Minion Yellow is the first-ever character branded color. Read on to learn more about this new color and its influence in modern graphic design and visual marketing.
Minion Yellow is a color that heightens awareness and creates clarity, lighting the way to the intelligence, originality and the resourcefulness of an open mind.
How did this color come about?
Are there more character branded colors to come in the future?
What is a Pantone Color?
Pantone is a standardized color matching system, utilizing the Pantone numbering system for identifying colors. By standardizing the colors, different manufacturers in different locations can all reference a Pantone numbered color, making sure colors match without direct contact with one another.
Pantone colors are described by their allocated number (typically referred to as, for example, “PMS 130”). PMS colors are almost always used in branding and have even found their way into government legislation and military standards.
How Minion Yellow Was Created
The public has become increasingly aware of color’s influence on mood, productivity, and image. While creating the music for the “Despicable Me” franchise, Pharrell Williams had an idea to create a color that is vibrant and uplifting. At the same time, Pantone was looking to add more energizing colors to its palette, hoping to gain a greater awareness with consumers.
The Pantone Color Institute worked closely with Pharrell and the animation team at Illumination Entertainment to create a custom color to represent the sweet and subversive characters.
Minion Yellow is an illuminating, energetic, friendly and fun-loving yellow hue that resonates with individuals around the world. The Executive Director for the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman, says, “This is the color of hope, joy and optimism.” Minion Yellow projects playfulness and warmth. This hue suggests intellectual curiosity and enlightenment.
Minion Yellow joins a long list of franchises that have their colors trademarked. This list includes Coca-Cola red (Pantone 484) to Starbucks emerald green (Pantone 3298C). A company is allowed to trademark a color if they can justify that it represents their brand.
Trademarking does not mean the ownership of a color. Instead, trademarking allows a company to use a particular combination and shade of colors in its own industry. Target can’t sue Coca-Cola for using a similar red because they are not selling a competing product.
Since 2004, Cadbury successfully trademarked a purple hue (Pantone 2685C) that is wrapped around their chocolate. This ruling infuriated the company Nestlé that lead to a legal dispute that lasted ten years.
In October 2013, Nestlé won the battle and Cadbury lost its trademark rights. In a last stitch effort, Cadbury sued Nestlé in an attempt to take away their ‘Kit-Kat’ shape… they lost.
Character Branded Pantones
Seen as global pop culture icons, the Minions have opened a door for Pantone to create more colors based on other franchises.
Minion Yellow was a solution to add a more energizing color to the vast Pantone family. This hue evokes awareness and hope.
Which franchise do you think will have their colors trademarked next?