Pantone introduces its first new colour in three years: Minion Yellow

Pantone's newest colour is the first ever created by the institute to be inspired by and named after a character.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
2 min read


They're undoubtedly evil, based on their willingness -- nay, their need -- to serve the most dastardly villain in the world. Yet the bespectacled, bright yellow "Despicable Me" Minions seem somehow innocent and loveable.

Apparently the Pantone Color Institute -- the company that defines and standardises colours for design industries worldwide -- thought so too, having created and named its first new colour in three years after the little guys, which will star in their own spin-off film, "Minions," due to hit cinemas on July 10.

"Just as the sun's rays enliven us, Pantone Minion Yellow is a colour that heightens awareness and creates clarity, lighting the way to the intelligence, originality and the resourcefulness of an open mind -- this is the colour of hope, joy and optimism," Pantone Color Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman said.

The original idea came from musician Pharrell Williams, who worked on the soundtrack for "Despicable Me" and "Despicable Me 2." Meanwhile, the Pantone Color Institute -- the company's research arm -- was interested in developing an "energising" colour to its palette.

The resulting colour was created by finding the "average" yellow of the minions, using spectroscopy to ensure Minion Yellow didn't replicate an already existing colour in the Pantone palette. Pantone refers to it as extroverted, playful, warm, energetic, friendly, illuminating and fun-loving.

"Colour is contextual and right now there is a desire for colours that are more vibrant and uplifting," Pantone Color Institute vice president Laurie Pressman said.

"This is especially the case with the yellows, so given the worldwide popularity of the Minions, it seemed only natural to name a colour after a character for the first time in our history."

Pantone Minion Yellow follows the addition of 336 new colours to the Pantone series in April 2012, and will be added to the Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors palette with the next colour addition.