14 Fired for Wearing Orange (Pantone 021)

pantoneMake Sure You Get the Color Right
In March of last year, 14 employees at the Elizabeth R. Wellborn law firm in Deerfield Beach, Florida were fired for wearing orange to work. Who knew PMS 021 could incite should a reaction?

The orange-wearing employees were called into a conference room, told by an executive that their wardrobe was understood to be a protest against company policy and they were dismissed immediately.

I don’t want to place these firings solely on the shoulders of PMS 021. Some of the workers claimed to be wearing the color of their favorite team so someone could have been wearing the Gator’s PMS 172 or the Miami Dolphin’s PMS 1655. Some of the employees said they wore orange because they were going to happy hour after work and they wanted to be able to find one another more easily. One woman told the Sun-Sentinel she was wearing orange, because it was her favorite color, “‘Orange happens to be my favorite color. My patio is orange. My lipstick was orange today.'” That’s a lot of orange.

But you know what else is orange? Prison jumpsuits.prisonjumpsuit

Apparently, that was the reason for the orange color. Some employees (of the law firm) felt new rules implemented by the office manager made them feel like…prisoners (clients of the law firm). Six of the 14 fired have hired an attorney, Donna Ballman, who took to the public airwaves to broadcast just how unfair the “new rules” had become.

“For example, they were not allowed to go to the break room to get coffee when they were on the clock. And, they weren’t allowed to speak to their co-workers over cubicle walls, even for work reasons. They had to get up and walk around,” Ballman, their attorney told the paper.

When she states those rules out loud, she has to realize they don’t quite rise to the level of prison orange. They do, however, denote a possible protest appropriate for preschool pink or nursery yellow. In fact, I think pink would have been a difficult color to fire someone in, which begs the question – did orange get them fired. (Yes, actually, it did).  A conference room full of people wearing pink would have a much different feeling than a room filled with bright orange or red. It could be that the executive didn’t even plan to fire them until he was overwhelmed with emotion by orange smothering the room.

My New Inventionformula-guide-set-fanned-right

I have a new invention for Pantone to consider which I propose in this newsletter. You will have to tweet me @howbrand if you like it or if you have others. The Pantone Plus Series Formula Guide Solid Coated & Uncoated is one of the most popular products we offer in MyDesignShop.com. In fact, the shop is currently offering a 10% off coupon using code: 10MOREP. That’s substantial because MyDesignShop.com offers the lowest prices for Pantone products. Coupons are rare for Pantone product so make sure take advantage of this one.


Here’s my brilliant idea: Pantone Guides for Produce. Before you discard the idea completely, think about a Produce Color Guide that people can match against ripeness. How about a Pantone Salad Color Guide that has different colors matched with foods on the back so shoppers can make colorful and delicious salads for entertaining? Am I on to something? Take a look at our Pantone Products and see if you can find another revenue stream for everyday consumers. Don’t forget the 10MOREP if you find something you need.

Pantone Smoothies could be another color combination using Pantone 19-4021 (blueberry), Pantone 485 (strawberry) and Pantone 1919-3520  (blackberry). Nothing says color like fruit, flowers and, of course protests. Is my idea for Pantone Guides for Produce a natural progression? Maybe not, but it does show how color incites behavior, including hunger. Think about it and remember how important getting the right color can be. It could make your boss say, “Hey, it’s Friday and I feel cheery,” or “You’re fired, get out.”