Pantone receives backlash for caucasian-looking color of the year

@erinraii/TikTok Pantone

Pantone receives backlash for Caucasian-looking color of the year

"This color is a representation and projection of our society and culture."


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Dec 11, 2023   Updated on Dec 11, 2023, 4:17 pm CST

After announcing it’s color of the year for 2024 is Peach Fuzz, Pantone is receiving backlash for picking a tone that resembles white skin.

Last week, Pantone released it’s 2024 Color of the Year: Peach Fuzz. The color trend guide company annually deems a specific color the Color of the Year according to Pantone’s Color Experts, who draw from media and other cultural influences. In 2023, the Color of the Year was Viva Magenta.

Peach Fuzz, a pastel pink and orange tone, is described as a “color radiant with warmth and modern elegance” by Pantone’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman. The company also associated Peach Fuzz with comfort and “that warm fuzzy feeling.” But many think that Peach Fuzz is an insensitive choice for Color of the Year, as it resembles whiteness and Caucasian skin.

In a TikTok posted over the weekend, Erin Raimondi (@erinraii) says that Pantone’s choice “feels really intentional.”

“This color is a representation and projection of our society and culture,” Raimondi says. In her video’s caption, she says that Peach Fuzz “looks like flesh, and something feels off.” Raimondi didn’t immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment via email.

@erinraii Is it that deep? It might be that deep. Is there a push for us to recenter… you know? The Pantone Color of 2024 looks like flesh and something about it feels off. Color is a huge part of communication in our world. I feel validated in my critique bc of how many designers and publications have called out its resemblance of flesh. #greenscreen ♬ Golden Hour: Piano Version – Andy Morris

Raimondi isn’t alone in her critiques of Pantone’s choices: Commenters on Pantone’s Instagram post announcing Peach Fuzz expressed disappointment and confusion as well, with many calling the brand out for not acknowledging Palestine.

“Should’ve been about peace, if not specifically Palestine,” one commenter wrote. “So meaningless.”

“Why is this so vague and pacifying at a time when we need strength and collective power?” another said. “Pantone has utterly failed to meet the moment yet again.”

“What about watermelon color of Palestinian freedom?” a commenter shared. “Or the bloody red of genocide?”

The color authority hasn’t shied away from politics and global events in the past: Last year, Pantone dedicated two colors to Ukraine—Freedom Blue and Energizing Yellow—after it was invaded by Russia in February 2022. The Ukrainian flag is comprised of blue and yellow.

Some have even said that Peach Fuzz seems to tie into TIME Magazine choosing Taylor Swift as its Person of the Year, which also felt like a slight against Palestinian resistance to some.

“Pantone’s color of the year is also Taylor Swift,” Tim Duffy tweeted. Plus, illustrator Alex Villegas posted a digital illustration of a photo from Swift’s cover shoot with Pantone’s Peach Fuzz over her face.

Criticism of Pantone’s choice hasn’t been limited to outcries on social media. Callie Holtermann, a reporter for the New York Times‘ Style section, called out Peach Fuzz’s similarity to Caucasian skin in a Style “Group Chat” piece.

“Does the shade remind anyone else of a complexion? Specifically, a light one? That gave me pause, for a moment,” Holtermann says. “This color, plus the skin connotation of the Peach Fuzz name, hews pretty closely to the shades worn by white people.”

Pantone did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.

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*First Published: Dec 11, 2023, 4:11 pm CST