Colorways: Back-to-School Vibes

Whether you’re headed back into a classroom or not, this time of year always brings up the mixed emotions of summer nostalgia and excitement of what lies ahead. With design on our minds, we decided to search our memories for Pantone shades that unmistakably signal the back-to-school season and share why certain hues will always remind us of grades K-12.

“This is a basic ‘90s blue, in memory of the Trapper Keeper I always wanted but never had, because Mom said it was totally useless. (What does she know anyway?!) This Trapper Keeper probably would have featured a cool saying like “Rock ‘n Roll” or maybe a picture of Will Smith, or Mario, or Doug, or Storm Troopers, or a Ferrari, or an iguana playing beach volleyball, or a horse.” – Patrick, principal

“When I think of a back to school color I would pick Pantone 2324 C. I think of green. South Buffalo is like Ireland-West, you see a lot of that color in the community. My old high school’s main brand color is green, so we all had green gym clothes, jerseys, t-shirts, ties etc. all had some green in them.” – Tim, designer

Pantone 2985 U, the color of my first and only L.L. Bean backpack, a birthday gift that, upon opening, triggered the purest sense of internal thrill I had ever experienced in my 12 years of life.” – Margaret, Labs project manager

“The color that reminds me of going back to school is Pantone 2007 C. It’s the golden yellow hue of the school bus, #2 pencils and cafeteria grilled cheeses. Hmm… what’s for lunch?” – Pat, brand manager

“I’m drawn to Pantone 3245 U as it was the color of my trusty lunch tote for many years. Thinking of this brings back memories of Handi-Snacks crackers and ‘cheese,’ bologna and mustard sandwiches and pretzel rods that were broken in half so they’d fit into small sandwich plastic bags. ” – Steve, brand manager

“Back-to-school season was everything. The supplies, the backup supplies, the emergency backup of the backup… What I secretly desired and never ever, ever received and I’m not bitteratallnoreally was a red (like Pantone 1795 XGC) and teal Trapper Keeper. I need to be alone now, excuse me.” – Ben, content strategist

“I lean Pantone 2202 U, the color of late summer sky walking to school on 80-degree days in three layers of brand new fall clothes. More importantly, the color of blue raspberry Hugs, my choice lunchbox beverage. Note: Does not work to tell your mom you “sat on a blue Hug” to cover a late first-grade pants-peeing incident.” – Julie, designer