Pantone have just announced their Colour of the Year for 2019 – and to many design experts and enthusiasts, it has come as a bit of a surprise.
Pantone's Colour of the Year for 2019 is Living Coral, also known by the decidedly less catchy name PANTONE 16-1546.
Living Coral: Warm, Life-Affirming, Vibrant
Living Coral is a warm, peachy orange with a golden undertone that lends it a life-affirming feel.
Inspired by the vibrant colouring of healthy sea coral, Pantone's colour experts are stressing the need for personal connection in an increasingly online world.
In fact, in their press release, Pantone specifically mentions the impact that social media has on our ability to connect with each other.
With Living Coral, they hope to counter this by inspiring connection, intimacy and playful expression away from digital devices.
While some years the winner is a colour intended for accents, Pantone's Colour of the Year 2019 is "a colour that you could paint a whole room", according to executive director of the Pantone Color Institute Leatrice Eiseman.
A Surprise Winner
We mentioned at the start that Pantone's announcement of Living Coral as their Colour of the Year for 2019 was a surprise to many in the design sector.
Many experts had predicted that 2019 would be dominated by pastel tones, as seen at the Stockholm Furniture Fair earlier this year.
Others opted for earthier tones – including Pantone's own experts, who were claiming their "Classico" and "Cravings" palettes as the key colour trends for 2019.
But neither palette contained Living Coral, and nobody in the business was talking about Living Coral as a serious contender for Colour of the Year.
Have Pantone Missed The Mark?
While Living Coral can very much be described as "peachy", the response to its announcement as Colour of the Year has not been.
Following Greenery in 2017 and Ultra Violet in 2018, Living Coral is the third consecutive Colour of the Year that has left designers a bit baffled.
One concern some have had surrounds social media.
While Pantone say that Living Coral is a "reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life", they also say that it represents "the fusion of modern life" and "displays a lively presence within social media".
For some, these two ideas are not compatible.
The other major concern is the inspiration for Living Coral – the natural coral reefs from which the colour is drawn.
While Pantone say Living Coral is optimistic, nurturing and nourishing, many have accused them of naivety.
This is down to the fact that the coral that this colour is based on is currently at risk of being lost forever to a process called bleaching, which turns the coral bone-white.
The irony of Living Coral being described as "optimistic" and "natural" when there is doubt that we will have any living coral left in the coming decades has not – unfortunately for Pantone – been lost on designers.
At any rate, Pantone's Colour of the Year will continue to be influential in the design world. We wonder if, in response to this year's reception, they might take a different tone.