pantone 2012-01 tangerine tangoThe venerable Pantone company — the international masters of color-matching — are predicting the hottest new color for 2012: Tangerine Tango.

I tend to take these color predictions with a grain of salt. But maybe that’s because our color palettes usually are more emotionally-, culturally-, story-telling- or logically-based than fashion-driven. If anything, I think we try to transcend trends rather than ride them.

Last year, Pantone predicted something called Honeysuckle, which is basically a hot raspberry-influenced pink.

“Described as courageous, confident and vital, [Honeysuckle] is deliberately bold and meant to contrast with last year’s more calming turquoise. …the intensity of this festive reddish pink allures and engages…Honeysuckle may also bring a wave of nostalgia for its associated delicious scent reminiscent of the carefree days of spring and summer.”

Yeah, that worked out well. Somehow, I don’t see 2011 as the year of “carefree days of spring and summer,” and I don’t remember seeing all that much pink around this past year.

This new red-orange, though, seems to me to have a little more potential — a warm hue that feels cozy and friendly might be just what we need heading into 2012. With a predicted 2.4% growth in the economy, maybe things will feel more genuinely hopeful, and Tangerine Tango will provide just the rhythm and heat we need to keep the fire burning.