Living Coral: Pantone’s Color of the Year 2019 Is an Ode to Nature

It is a yearly event: In the beginning of December some of us take a pause from all the holiday cheer because the color specialists at Pantone release the Pantone Color of the Year, predicting a tone which they assume is going to set the tone quite literally for the year ahead. Last year they gave us Ultra-Violet. This year’s Pantone color of the year? Living Coral.

Vibrant, yet mellow Pantone 16-1546 Living Coral is Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2019, following the company’s yearly, wide-ranging examination of color trends throughout culture. Living Coral is comforting and energizing simultaneously, a color intended to act as a slight beacon of feelgood in a time of global anxiety.

“Just as coral reefs are a source of sustenance and shelter, we see this color giving us assurance and buoyancy in an environment that’s been continuously shifting for 10 years,” says Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. “With technology, and all the [political] unrest around the world, our global culture has continued to accelerate this shift.”

As Pantone’s color experts see it, the tone is one that links our tech-obsessed world with the natural one. “Color is an equalizing lens through which we experience our natural and digital realities and this is particularly true for Living Coral,” executive director of the Pantone Color Institute Leatrice Eiseman said in a statement. “With consumers craving human interaction and social connection, the humanizing and heartening qualities displayed by the convivial Pantone Living Coral hit a responsive chord.”

Termed “an affable and animating shade,” Living Coral’s chromatic profile is recognized by its golden undertones that lend to its fiercely spirited character. Given the abundance of reds and oranges that have made their mark in design as of late.

In relation to interior decor, Pantone considers Living Coral adding a “playful spirit. “As a color linked to tactility and human connection, Pantone Living Coral in shag rugs, cozy blankets, and lush upholsteries create a warm, comforting and nurturing feeling in the home. With its ebullient nature, Pantone Living Coral adds a dramatic pop of color to any room setting whether in decorative accessories, tabletop, or on the wall.”

Contrary to popular belief, Pressman clarifies that Pantone Color of the Year isn’t a trends forecast. “It’s a reflection of what’s taking place. It’s a color snapshot symbolic of what’s taking place in the culture at a moment in time,” she says. The iPhone XR’s coral variant particularly struck Pressman. “Here’s a company at the pinnacle of technology taking a color from nature. Are we fusing nature and technology? Or are they taking a color that could be construed as retro and introducing it in a modern equipment?,” she muses. “It was just so fascinating.”

But if any tech company deserves credit for kicking off the Living Coral trend, Pressman says it’s Airbnb, which introduced coral as part of its 2014 brand redesign: “What people may have called questionable the time [was] prescient.”