Color of the Year - Color Love: Living Coral | West-South

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Color Love: Living Coral

Dec 11

Mel Sikorski


image of backlit people watching a fiery coral sunset over the golden ocean.

You may have heard recently that Pantone, the company that provides matching tools to all those companies you buy products from, announced the color they have chosen as “Color of the Year”.  They call it Living Coral.

It’s one of my favorite colors.  It is universally flattering, works well in combination with other colors, and feels fresh just about any time of year.

So what does this matter to you?  Because, well, you’re going to be seeing a lot of it in stores in about 6 weeks – in clothes, in accessories, in advertising.  And that doesn’t just happen because Pantone decided it was going to happen.  It’s not random.  And as much as they make it seem like it’s one person in a room just picking a swatch out of a book for the color of the year, it’s not.  The process and reasoning are way more in-depth.

How the Color of the Year is Selected

I’ve been on the inside of one of the groups that make annual color forecasts.  It’s made up of a large group of designers from all different industries and disciplines.  They bring the actual colors they’ve chosen for the next year of their product and present them to the group.  It was a privilege to have been selected to share my designs with them.

However, the important part of the presentation is the WHY.  What drew them to that color, and what conversations were they having internally about it?  What data points gave them confidence that this was the right choice for them? Does the color sell?  How do the buyers resonate with it?

The color is not a guess.  These are people who are letting themselves be affected by the cultural movement 1, 2 or 3 years before the rest of the people start thinking about it.  Because of this, it’s not magic – it’s observation.  It’s anthropology.

Why you see the same color from every company

The gathering is an intense 3 or 4 days of conversations on the state of the culture of the entire globe.  It’s wonderfully overwhelming.  And at the end of it, you have a much clearer picture of where people’s heads are.

So it’s no coincidence that every company starts to sell the same colors at the same time.  This is because humans are humans everywhere.  We react to color, in the same way, no matter who we are.  And because colors create emotion.  Using the right color for what you feel (or want to feel) can make all the difference in your happiness.

So this is why I find the reason behind this year’s color of the year fascinating and very on point for the current cultural climate.

“Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.

In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy.

Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings. At the same time, it displays a lively presence within social media.”

Because who doesn’t want warmth and nourishment?  Why wouldn’t you want connection and intimacy?  Or to feel comforted and buoyant?  This color does all of that.

If you’d like to add a bit of these feelings to your life, I’ve rounded up a few products already on the market below.

This color is best in small bites and works well with most other colors, but I especially love it with its warm neighbors tan and fuchsia.  It’s also particularly great when paired with a tactile texture like suede or jute.

If you’re searching online, look under the “Orange” tag, not “Pink” to find colors closest to this shade of coral.

West-South | Pantone Color of the Year - Living Coral

01 – Monaco Chair | 02 – ‘Rejuvenate’ SW 6620 | 03 – Resort ’19 by Alejandra Alonso Rojas | 04 – Collection Vida Alegria Bowl by Beatriz Ball | 05 – Anna Burke Interiors | 06 – Marisela Hoop Earrings by BaubleBar | 07 – Ballard Jute Tote | 08 – Marble Plates & Cups by Oh Happy Day | 09 – The Alice by UrbanStems| 10 – Cypress Bay 6-Piece Towel Set by Tommy Bahama | 11 – Shades of Red Summer Party Decorations by Martha Stewart (photo by Ryan Liebe)

I hope this has helped understand the Color of the Year! If you ever need help with YOUR color of the year, let me know. I’m always here to help.

hear from you soon, mel signature

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