STEPHEN THOMPSON: Radiant Orchid Pantone’s magical, exotic color for 2014



Last week MJ Justice at the Nesco Lighting Gallery asked me, “What’s your favorite color?” I answered, “plaid!” partly because it’s been the answer I’ve used all my working life and partly because popular plaids this time of year are usually the red and greens of Christmas.

During my years of working at Sherwin-Williams, I noticed whenever people asked, “What’s your favorite color?” they usually were asking more to express how they felt about their own favorite color, than anything else. If we happened to have same favorite, great, but if we didn’t, it made it a bit harder for them to trust my decorating advice. I quickly learned an artistic and quirky answer like plaid kept folks talking and gave us time to find the ideal color for whatever decorating project they had come to see me about.

When it comes to choosing color for others, a good color consultant needs to be a chameleon. There’s never one color that is always perfect for every situation, but there is always a perfect color for every situation; it just has to be found. The colors you decorate with today will differ from colors you’ve used in the past, because you are constantly being influenced by the colors others wear, what you see in their homes, and what you see in entertainment media.

Which brings us to Pantone’s 2014’s Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid. Its hue is an intriguing, exotic and enchanting color that reveals the sprit of the times. Each year’s color of the year is a snapshot, one that reflects what people are looking for and what they feel they need. It is not necessarily the hottest fashion color of the moment, but it is a color that is crossing over into all areas of design.

Every year the Pantone Color Institute, led by executive director Leatrice Eiseman, searches for the one color that captures the prevailing world’s mood. Her team combs the world searching for future design and color influences, looking for that one color that is rising and building in momentum through all the creative sectors. They scout the entertainment industry, upcoming films, art, emerging artists, travel destinations and socio-economic conditions. And they track technology, lifestyles, playstyles, new textures and effects that impact color and even upcoming sports events like the Olympics to see what captures the world’s attention.

All colors have their own special symbolism, emotion and inherent meaning. Radiant Orchid reveals itself through its three components: fuchsia, purple and pink. Its vibrant fuchsia symbolizes both an invitation to be playful and the experience of inventive transformation; its purple emotes creativity and originality; and its rosy pink undertones add whispers of much joy, sweet love, health and well-being – all of which are positive signs 2014 will be a beautiful year.

Live in beauty!

Stephen Thompson, Allied ASID has been creating coordinated, tasteful interiors since 1975. For questions, comments, or consultations contact Designer Connection, P.O. Box 361, Tupelo, MS 38802 or

Click video to hear audio