2014 Color of the Year Radiant Orchid

By Friday, January 3, 2014 grafphoto

First of all, for my first post for 2014, Happy New Year!

Radiant orchid

Color of the Year for 2014 : Radiant Orchid

And appropriately for my first post, I am continuing a 7 year tradition in following Pantone’s Color of the Year.  The 2014 Color of the Year is Radiant Orchid.  An interesting, energetic color to say the least, not quite pink, not quite purple, but something in between, bringing the qualities of both together.

Here are some of the Technical aspects of it:

  • RGB Value (TPX):  R177 G99 B163
  • RGB Value (converted Adobe CMYK swatch): R135 G94 B145
  • HTML:  B163A3 (#875e91 converted from swatch)
  • Pantone #: 18-3224

And from the Pantone press release:

“While the 2013 color of the year, PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald, served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, Radiant Orchid reaches across the color wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “An invitation to innovation, Radiant Orchid encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in today’s society.”

radiant orchid colors in nature

Radiant Orchid colors in nature | Michigan Grass Pink orchid | Nikon D2X, 70-200 f/2.8 #FL-9821

As with previous years, I dive into my archives on a treasure hunt of sorts, looking for close matches to what is to be the “hot” color for the year, at least by the color authority of Pantone®.   Even if it never amounts to any particular business lead (can’t say it has), it is a unique way of exploring older photographs.

Many people may go through their archives by dates, places, or subjects as a way to rekindle those moments.   I happen to also keyword by dominant colors, which helps in a search like this, so I can at least come to a good starting point.   It would certainly be nice if Lightroom had an eye dropper feature where you could set a tolerance limit, and have it hunt throughout your database.  (Note to self – write Adobe.)

Sometimes it is quite hard to find close matches, but I think Radiant Orchid is a pinkish / purple color found in many of Michigan’s native wildflowers.   In fact, many of them are native orchids!  Michigan’s Grass Pink Orchid, for one,  is very close to being a match to my eye.

To make sure what I was seeing was accurate, I also used Photoshop’s color sampler to pick the closest tones from the flower that matched the swatch of Radiant Orchid.   I guess my monitor and my eyes are still calibrated pretty good, as the RGB values were only off by less than 10%.

radiant orchid RGB comparison

RGB sampling of Michigan Grass Pink Orchid photo


Other examples I found are in Michigan’s rare, native Calypso Orchid and less so in the Showy Lady Slipper.

calypso orchid photo

Michigan’s rare Calypso Orchid – Radiant Orchid petals? | Nikon F5, 105 f/2.8, Fuji Velvia 35mm film #FL-1338

I have only known these to grow in parts of upper Michigan, either in the very northern ends of the lower peninsula or in the U.P.   This one goes way, way back –  photographed in May 1998, with my Nikon F5, on Fuji Velvia film, and a 105 f2.8 (non VR at the time) macro lens.

Michigan’s Showy Lady Slipper Orchids also come close in color match, drifting a bit perhaps more towards red/pinkish tones.   These can also be quite rare, but they do grow further south than the Calypso’s.

Showy lady slipper orchid photo

Michigan’s native Showy Lady Slipper Orchid | Nikon D2X, 105 f2.8 macro #FL-8211-2


And one cannot forget one of the earlier blooms of Springtime, the delicate Michigan Spring Beauty, where you will find close matches to this intriguing color.   These accents drift towards the purple end of the spectrum.

Radiant Orchid flower photo

Spring Beauty are early spring wildflowers, exhibiting accents of the 2014 color. | Nikon D700, 200 mm f/4


Moving away from the obvious wildflower sources for finding Radiant Orchid, I think it can also be found in the landscape, particularly at the ends of the day, during civil or nautical twilight, when skies begin taking on pastel-like colors.   I thought there was a close match for the 2014 color in the sky of this landscape from Georgian Bay.

Radiant Orchid color in the sky

Tranquility on Georgian Bay, Canada | Nikon D700, 17-35 f/2.8


And perhaps more obviously found in this winter landscape from my favorite ice spot in Michigan.

Winter twilight

Winter twilight | Nikon D700, 17-35 f/2.8 #WI-8991


Or going back in time, into this ancient landscape, where resemblances of Radiant Orchid are found in stone, millions of years before anyone knew of such a color.

Radiant Orchid abstract wall art

Willow Creek Jasper abstract | Nikon D800, 105 f2.8 macro



Expanded creativity and originality – if that is something that this color is predicted to bring, I hope you all have a Radiant Orchid colored 2014.

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Good choice for color of the year as I photograph our Grass Pinks annually in a local wet meadow. And our sunrises often contain a nice little soft pastel of this value from Pantone …..as opposed to the delicacy that my wife enjoys….Panettone. Great idea for a project, Mark.

  • latoga says:

    What a wonderful idea at the start of the year Mark! I never realized Pantone did a color of the year (though that’s pretty obvious in retrospect that they would). There has got to be a way to have a search done via color, but your probably right that no one would probable enable the “within factor”. Since my 2014 goal is mostly about digging thru my unpublished archive…I may have to try searching for the color of the year as well…at least once the kids go to bed and if my eyes can take more computer time! 😉

    • Mark says:

      Thanks Greg! I always enjoy their write-ups about their selection process and the meaning behind their selections. Worth checking out some of the previous years.

      I know Google will find similarly colored images on the web using their image search tool, but I think more difficult to do that in your own personal collection, at least for now. It does seem the technology is there. Good luck in your hunting!

  • Beautiful images with the radiant orchid! I do the same thing I put color keyword tags on my imags in Lightroom too, since I capture so much color it makes sense to do that. I actually used the keyword “fuschia” a couple of times the other day, which I think would match nicely.

    Ha my mind went to graffiti. I will have to see if I can dig up one or two images to match.

  • I’m impressed (as always when I drop by here) not only by the beautiful selection of photos but also by your organisation. If I was to start on such an exercise to find a particular colour… well let’s just say it would require going back through each and every photo in turn. Of course in my case that would only take about an hour so no biggie.

    By the way, the Willow Creek Jasper abstract, an absolute stunner.

%d bloggers like this: