Pantone's 2019 Color of the Year: 'Living Coral'

Lawrence Kim
December 6, 2018

For 20 years, Pantone's Colour of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, as well as product, packaging, and graphic design. It would also miss the point, in a way, since the institute selected the color for its "vibrant, yet mellow" life-affirming qualities - both our physical lives and those we lead online.

But do we want to run toward this color of grandmothers?

How important color analysis is when weighed against, well, the rest of the world is in the eye of the beholder.

Previous announcements have been less subtle: In 2017, the colour of the year was Greenery, a bright spring green that Pantone suggested would "provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape".

In this respect, a dark irony lurks in the fact that Pantone announced its honors for living coral on the same day climate scientists revealed that global carbon emissions are climbing, despite many countries' ambitious pledges to rein them in. It brings to mind, recreation, leisure, celebration - aspects of life that are needed to balance the many challenges faced in the current day and age; one can easily imagine the dynamic color in a setting like a beach escape or the mellow rosy shade of a pair of Nantucket Reds pants.

And for those non-art majors out there, "chroma" is a description that combines hue and saturation. A set of letters after the numbers indicate the material or substance upon which the color was printed or otherwise placed, such as dyed cotton or paper.

So if you want to be popular in the coming 12 months, there's only one thing for it.

Last year Pantone named Ultra Violet - a deep purple meant to evoke a counterculture flair, a grab for originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking - as the 2018 color of the year. In 2016, Pantone picked a duo for the first time: Serenity (a baby blue) and Rose Quartz (a light pink).

New Jersey-based Pantone picks a new color each year based on socioeconomic conditions, fashion trends, new technologies, as well as new trends in the realms of lifestyle, art, music, travel, and of course, social media.

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