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Introducing Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year, the Socially Motivated Living Coral

Can’t get to Australia to dive the Great Barrier Reef this year? Pantone is here to help out. Their 2019 Color of the Year, Living Coral, “embodies our desire for playful expression” and “embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment,” they said.


Sounds inviting, no? Socially-conscious entities applauded the choice. The Nature Conservancy‏ tweeted, “As International Year of the Reef #IYOR2018 comes to a close, it’s only fitting that #LivingCoral has been named the Pantone 2019 Color of the Year. Full of optimism and energy, just what we need to save coral reefs.”

Mind you, not everyone is such a fan. The Associated Press asked, “But do we want to run toward this color of grandmothers?” Slate called the color choice the “latest hilarious misfire in Pantone’s history of awkward wokeness attempts”—their issue being directed more at the choice acting “like a troll directed at a planet rapidly growing inhospitable to the many organisms that call it home” than the color itself.

Indeed, Pantone has gone there for several years now, choosing a Color of the Year that goes beyond fashion influence to also reflect what’s going on in the world. Two-thousand-eighteen’s Ultra Violet wished for a bipartisan electorate, Slate reminds us (“It takes two shades that are seemingly diametrically opposed—blue and red—and brings them together to create something new,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute said.) In 2017, Greenery also hinted at political and social strife—“For a world weary of so much red and blue, green may be just the right tone,” Pantone said.

Gathering inspiration from the larger universe and everything that’s happening in the world is integrated into Pantone’s process, which they have said takes a team 12 months of research to complete. “In choosing the color of the year, we look at everything around us,” Eiseman told Elle Décor. “We look to see what people are doing in beauty and in fashion and in art; we look to see what people are wearing, and buying, and posting about on social media. In a time when so many of us are increasingly immersed in digital experiences that can be cold and isolating, Living Coral felt like an appealing shade of connection. There’s just something about the color that feels earthbound and welcoming, optimistic and intimate. And those are the exact reason’s Living coral is so applicable in the home and design space.”

Regardless of motivations and backstory, the color that Pantone calls, “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge” is about to invade your space. So get ready for a proliferation of pretty things that emit “the desired, familiar, and energizing aspects of color found in nature.”

That means “everything from kitchen accessories to food and beauty products,” said Forbes, but also walls and upholstery and rugs and accessories. The wrong coral hue may veer toward cantaloupe or Pepto Bismol, but “vibrant, yet mellow” Living Coral, as Pantone calls it, exists in a happy coral place that we can’t wait to bring into our space. Take a look at some of our favorite ways to use Living Coral at home below.

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Introducing Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year, the Socially Motivated Living Coral

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