Pantone Debuts Colorful Visa Cards

It’s a Pantone chip! It’s a credit card! Stop, you’re both right! The color authority is making its iconic color samples available as Visa cards in a range of hues that looks borrowed from the Crayola “bold colors” markers box but is in fact a quintet of shades tapped by Pantone as fashionably hot—or cool, as the case may be—for spring 2011. Shopaholics can opt for blazing Firecracker (Pantone 16-1452), which the company associates not with pyromania but the spicy virtues of “cheerful, dynamic, and tuned in.” That does a pretty good job of describing sassy wunderkind Christian Siriano, who combined deep fiery red and saturated paprika tones with neutral khaki in a spring collection influenced by African, Indian, and Asian culture (think safari shorts, kimono-sleeved jackets, and of course, gowns). Cooler heads and seafaring types can opt for Regatta (Pantone 18-4039)—a cadet blue that showed up in designer Lela Rose‘s spring collection, which was inspired by richly woven Peruvian textiles, and the preptastic 25th anniversary line-up of Tommy Hilfiger. Also trending cool was Carmen Marc Valvo, who dipped into the Blue Curacao (Pantone 15-4825) for a collection designed in part to boost colon cancer awareness, which has made blue its official color. The aquamarine hue, which makes us thirsty for some Bombay Sapphire and Pantone finds “sensuous, tender, and inviting,” also found a fan in young designer Nary Manivong, who looked to his Laotian heritage and the Amish culture he saw growing up in Ohio to whip up pieces such as an ocean-toned corset wrap dress. Meanwhile, a Beeswax (Pantone 14-0941) Visa is bound to stand out in your wallet while subtly signaling to merchants that you’re “warm, sincere, and generous.” Transaction approved! The mustardish shade found a supporter in Tibi’s Amy Smilovic, who mixed graphic blacks and whites with ochre and cool grape (if you fancy a Lavender Visa) for spring 2011. She declares the must-have ensemble “an ochre top with matching ochre pant.”