14/12/18 Pantone’s Colour of 2019 is… Living Coral

Pantone has announced Living Coral – otherwise known as Pantone 16-1546 – as its colour of the year. And we can’t think of anything more beautiful.

The announcement many in the design community wait for at this time every year, Pantone has selected “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energises and enlivens with a softer edge,” out of its vast palette to be the chosen colour of the next 12 months.

Pantone describes its choice for 2019 as emitting “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.”

Never has this been more necessary when real coral reefs are being devastated by global warming. Far from naive, Pantone’s championing of the colour based on the natural pigmentation of healthy ocean coral should be considered a sign of positivity and a reminder of what we’re fighting to protect.


Image courtesy: Pantone

For 20 years now, the Pantone Color Institute has been fusing colour-centric consultancy and psychology with seasonal trend forecasting to come up with a hue that they feel can advise brands and companies on how to deploy colour effectively in the year to come.

Pantone acknowledges that these are turbulent times, saying “we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy” as a reaction to “the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life”. We’re all suffering an increasing need for IRL human connection, and a connection with nature, too.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), up to 60 per cent of our remaining reefs are now at risk of being lost due to the devastating effects of global warming and pollution.

Perhaps not as “nurturing” as intended, we can’t help but celebrate the intent.

In fact, Pantone isn’t alone in predicting future colours. Dulux launched its 2019 colour of the year last month, suggesting a shade called Spiced Honey. Smoother and cooler, it could be suggested they too were attempting to find a colour that was a salve for the current global turbulence. A colour that naturally accompanies a palette of hues associated with natural materials like cork, hemp and bamboo.

Colour predictions aside, what we can and should strive for in 2019 is the recognition that we can all have an impact, whether that’s on the natural world or the lives of garment workers. Then it’s about deciding whether you want it to be positive or destructive. We’re hedging our bets with the former!