Pantone’s Colour of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries for many years. This includes fashion, home furnishings, industrial design, as well as product, packaging, and graphic design. Every December, Pantone launches their latest Colour of the Year for the following year. 2019’s chosen colour is Living Coral. You can also use its official Pantone code, 16-1546 – although it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
Pantone say of this colour, “Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral emits the desired, familiar and energising aspects of colour found in nature. In its glorious, yet unfortunately more elusive, display beneath the sea, this vivifying and effervescent colour mesmerises the eye and mind. Lying at the center of our naturally vivid and chromatic ecosystem, Pantone Living Coral is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of colour.”
The Colour of the Year selection process requires thoughtful consideration and trend analysis to arrive at the selection each year. Pantone’s colour experts at the Pantone Colour Institute comb the world looking for new colour influences, which can include the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design as well as popular travel destinations. Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact colour, relevant social media platforms and even upcoming sporting events that capture worldwide attention.
Looking back at previous Colours of the Year over the last 10 years or so, it was clear we were overdue for a vivid warm tone – the last being 2012’s Tangerine Tango. Described as “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energises and enlivens with a softer edge”, Living Coral is a nice transition into a colour that is both vibrant and soothing, after 2018’s bold Ultra-Violet and 2017’s Greenery. 2019’s colour provides a powerful pop that symbolises positivity and is sure to stand out in a crowd.
When found in nature, coral isn’t always the same colour. It can be a rosy pink, a rare gold or even inky black. Even Living Coral, a recognisable shade of pinkish orange, can shimmer between tones when seen under different light. Although Pantone’s purpose is to provide colour standardisation, this choice is a reminder that colours are often in the eye of the beholder.
Pantone’s choice of this colour is a reminder that a lot of the best colours come from nature. By focusing on the beauty of coral reefs, Pantone is giving a subtle reminder not to forget their fragility and the importance of their preservation – linked to our natural world, drawing attention to the beauty of coral, a living organism that is dying fast due to our increasingly warming oceans. Pantone’s 2019 colour of the year is one that may soon exist only as a paint or dye.