This 2020 Lincoln Corsair Standard is painted in Flight Blue. Metro News Service photo

One car color projects gutsy sense of style, ‘unpretentious’ confidence

Feeling blue may not be so bad after all.

Especially as a car owner.

It’s no coincidence that Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn all use blue in their corporate logos. Ford Motor Co. too. It’s because shades of blue inspire so many positive emotions, including trust, color experts say.

With news that the Pantone Color Institute has named the “timeless and enduring” PANTONE 19-4052 “Classic Blue” the Color of the Year 2020, Lincoln Motor Co. is spotlighting its range of blue offerings, which made up 10% of company sales in 2019.

Flight Blue is the signature color of the new Lincoln Aviator and Corsair.

“Whether a light, medium or deep blue tone, Lincoln’s palette of blues summons up feelings of respite and refuge,” Laurie Pressman, vice president of the color institute, said in the Lincoln release. “Flight Blue is a leading-edge blue-gray shade expressive of a new modernity. Unpretentious, yet at the same time elegant, subtle and calming, Flight Blue conveys a message of timelessness and enduring quality.”

Designers at the Dearborn-based automaker say the various shades of blue represent specific emotions or elements of nature:

  • Chroma Crystal: Light, water
  • Blue Diamond: Confidence, trust
  • Flight Blue: Flying, freedom
  • Artisan Blue: Crafted, galaxy

“I would say that people that are buying blue cars are confident and comfortable with showing some style,” said Amy Wax, an international color consultant based in Montclair, New Jersey. “I see these people as comfortable with making more of a statement. The color is a little gutsier. Not too risky. It gives you the freedom to do something with strength while, at the same time, it has a classic elegance.”

Blue is traditionally associated with tranquility and peacefulness, color experts say.

“Of all the colors in the spectrum, blues are seen as the coolest, both in temperature and in temperament, inducing feelings of calm and relaxation, projecting a quiet, cool permanence. In most cultures, blues are thought of as a form of protective influence, offering refuge,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a Lincoln news release.

Her organization, which is based in Carlstadt, New Jersey, forecasts color trends and advises global companies on color and brand identity.

Yellow vs. red

Color can affect mood, whether it’s more relaxed at home or focused at work or energized at the gym, Wax said. “Color has the ability to contribute to our state of mind.”

Bright yellow is energizing, she said. Red can raise the heart rate. Gold and burgundy and deep blue with contrasting neutrals, or even metallic accents, can set the right tone for entertaining, she said.

“I have found at times, when people feel more nervous in terms of the political arena, they’re definitely going with colors that are safer,” Wax said. “Dark blue or royal blue have that sense of honesty and reliability. That’s what people are looking for right now.”

Blue lightning

Karl Brauer, executive publisher of the Irvine, Calif.-based Kelley Blue Book auto valuation company, said car color is as important as brand, model and wheels.

“Color has a lot to do with the car’s personality and the personality of the car’s owner that you’re transmitting to the world,” he said. “It’s been very depressing to watch so many people take the safe route with white, black and some version of silver. Those three colors make up the overwhelming majority of car colors you see.”

Looking out his office window, Brauer said, he saw white and black and silver cars with one old orange Camaro.

“I went to turn right coming up on a main street in Irvine (California) and all the cars lined up in the left-hand turn lane — my headlights swing across the line of cars — all of them were white. I literally was, like, holy crap. What the hell? Every car was white? Is something going on? These aren’t city cars all going in a parade. They were all different makes and models and white, like eight in a row. I couldn’t believe it.”

Too many people buy with the idea of resale, and color loss becomes a vicious cycle, he said.

“I just got a 2019 Ford GT recently. I agonized for a long time and finally ended up going with Liquid Blue with Race Red mirror caps, brake calipers and narrow stripes. … The fact that Ford has an association as a brand with the color blue and now they’re doing all these premium shades of blue for the Lincoln brand, it’s brilliant. Just a great way to leverage their heritage.”

Sky and ocean

Susan Lampinen, a Lincoln group chief designer who leads the color and materials team, told the Free Press recently the company looks to elements of nature to guide design.

“When we’re talking about blue, we know it represents serenity, harmony, calmness, safeness, trust — we think of the sky, the deep sea,” she said. “The inspiration we take from this, the blue color space, is very important. The blue in the luxury car segment ranges from light icy blues to deep rich blues.”

During times of uncertainty and endless demands, car consumers are looking for relaxation and sanctuary; they want to be taken care of and feel safe, she said. “When you’re around blue, there’s a feeling that gets evoked. Who doesn’t like beautiful blue sky or beautiful blue crystal water? People want to be connected to that.”

In 2018, Pantone named “Ultra Violet” its color of the year. In 2019, Pantone went with “Living Coral.” This year, in announcing Classic Blue, Pantone said:

“Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era. … Imprinted in our psyches as a restful color, Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue brings a sense of peace and tranquility to the human spirit, offering refuge. Aiding concentration and bringing laser like clarity, Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue re-centers our thoughts. A reflective blue tone, Classic Blue fosters resilience.”

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