Classic Blue Quilt
Potter’s Wheel quilt pattern by Briar Hill Designs. Quilted by Violet Quilts.

Photo courtesy of Julia Wentzell

Each year, the Pantone Color Institute looks at the film and entertainment industry, art collections and new artists, fashion, design, travel, new technologies and materials, as well as socio-economic conditions to establish the Color of the Year. As we enter a new decade, Pantone has named “Classic Blue” as 2020’s Color of the Year.

This universally loved and ubiquitous colour can be described with many adjectives: calm, restful, peaceful, stable, trusted, constant. Pantone exerts that in a time of change, such a dependable color provides a stable foundation as we move into a new era. Its ubiquity in nature — sky and sea — makes it a color that represents connection and boundlessness. Leactric Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, states that Classic Blue “encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expand our thinking, challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication.”

Check out 3rd Story Workshop’s Pinterest board for Classic Blue inspiration​.

A Classic Blue Hue Made New

Of roughly 200 national flags across the world, blue — in this particular “classic” tone — is one of the most widely used. It is used to symbolize the sea, sky, truth and loyalty. Classic Blue brings to mind Greek islands, French Toile de Jouy motifs and traditional ceramic work from the Dutch city of Delft.

Denim quilt from Wise Craft Quilts by Blair Stocker, Wise Craft Handmade.

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Congdon Barnes

Although the “classic” nature of this shade of blue is rooted in the Western context, the color blue has significance across all cultures, symbolizing harmony, togetherness and peace, fidelity, growth, determination, immortality, divinity, universe, wisdom. 

Blue’s ubiquity in craft perhaps can be found in indigo dye. One of the oldest dyes, it can be used for textile dyeing and printing. Derived from a variety of plant species, it is naturally occurring in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe and was imported to colonial North America and became an important export crop in the United States. Dyed with indigo, denim jeans were invented during the gold rush of the 19th century and have evolved to become a wardrobe staple – a neutral in its own right.

As craft business owners, how can we leverage Classic Blue in 2020 to promote our business? Here are some tips.

Fat quarter bundle.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Tsang Jackson

Highlight Your Offerings with Underlying Emotion

Do you have a product or fabric supply that features Classic Blue? Share it through your social media channels and tell your customers how this Color of the Year evokes calm and peace, or how it’s so universally loved that all your gift recipients in 2020 will always appreciate something in this color.

Cover quilt from Wise Craft Quilts by Blair Stocker, Wise Craft Handmade.

Photo courtesy of Stephanie Congdon Barnes

Feature Past Work

Blair Stocker of Wise Craft Handmade recently reposted the cover quilt from her 2017 book, Wise Craft Quilts: A Guide to Turning Beloved Fabrics into Meaningful Patchwork. With the enduring quality of Classic Blue and its association with denim, along with the need to turn to sustainable ways of making, Blair reminds her customer of an offering that is relevant even a few years later.

Artist Emily Mann of Ink and Indigo.

Photo courtesy of Christy Parry Photography

Use It to Tell Your Story

Classic Blue features as a backdrop on the “About” page of Emily Mann’s Ink and Indigo website. “I’m standing in front of a series of small indigo & gold works on paper from the #100daysofinkandindigo project I did a few years ago,” she says. “This series launched a signature body of work that I’m still working with today.” 

“I definitely think there is something about indigo that speaks to people almost universally — my blue works of all kinds seem to be favorites with clients and folks following along on social media,” says Mann.

Using an image of herself with work that represents her artistic voice speaks to her journey — and to her future work. “Personally learning indigo vat dyeing and Japanese resist techniques played a big part in how I first came to love textiles and focus on fiber arts back in my college days. It has been such a fun and unexpected throughline to bring indigo to my two dimensional works and now it’s even seeping into my three dimensional clay works.”

Potter’s Wheel quilt pattern by Briar Hill Designs. Quilted by Violet Quilts.

Photo courtesy of Julia Wentzell

Show Your Customers How to Use It

As Pantone says, Classic Blue is “easily relatable” and like a favorite pair of jeans, it goes with pretty much any color. Briar Hill Designs, sample quilt for their Potter’s Wheel pattern pairs the blue with neutrals, as well as uses a Classic Blue backdrop.

Below are other ways that you can pull in other 2020 color trends that go so well with Classic Blue.

Analogous color scheme: Classic Blue with Enchanted, Kona’s Color of the Year (middle)
Complementary color scheme: Classic Blue with punchy citrus complementary colors
Contrasting color scheme: Classic Blue with Etsy’s chosen Color of the Year, Chartreuse (middle)

In her first blog post of the year, Heather Walpole of yarn company Ewe Ewe Yarns, shows how one of their yarn colors, 78 Sapphire, is the perfect shade of Classic Blue and is available in 3 weights of merino wool yarn. She then goes on to show her customers how to combine them with other colors in their shop.

Whether you are pulling from imagery or creating new products using Classic Blue, this universally loved color will be a hit with your customers. It never goes out of style and is a calm and stable force in our ever-changing surroundings.

Andrea Tsang Jackson

Andrea Tsang Jackson


Andrea is an artist, designer and quilter based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Quilting has become the medium through which she can explore her interests in material, geometry, and place. Her background in architecture has allowed her to understand the design process from a variety of approaches. As an educator, she wants to inspire others to reach their own creative potential and to see themselves as designers of their own lives. Although her favourite colours to wear and design with are neutral, she loves to play with colour in her 3rd Story Workshop. You can find her at www.3rdstoryworkshop.com.

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