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The 2019 Pantone Colour of the Year beams optimism

Quartz logo Quartz 6/12/2018 Anne Quito

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For the past 19 years, Pantone’s secret cabal of colour experts have searched high and low to discern one colour that captures the zeitgeist. This year’s search took them to the depths of the ocean. Unveiled tonight at Art Basel Miami, the colour standards company named “Living Coral,” a peachy shade of orange with a golden undertone, as the 2019 Pantone Colour of the Year.

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Coral craze.

A departure from last year’s somber UltraViolet, Living Coral (Hex/HTML code: FA7268) embodies playfulness, energy, and a yearning to reconnect with nature. “The overriding influence [this year] was the environment,” explains Laurie Pressman, vice president of Pantone’s colour consulting unit, to Quartz. “Top of mind was the arresting beauty we see in nature and the importance of preserving the environment…Think of coral reefs, they provide shelter and sustenance to marine life and here we are watching them disappear.”

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Contrary to popular belief, Pressman clarifies that Pantone Colour of the Year isn’t a trends forecast. “It’s a reflection of what’s taking place. It’s a colour snapshot symbolic of what’s taking place in the culture at a moment in time,” she says. Pressman notes that the peachy shade appeared in fashion runways, furniture, home interiors, corporate branding, websites and even tech gadgets in 2018.

Apple knew it.

© Provided by Atlantic Media, Inc. The iPhone XR’s coral variant particularly struck Pressman. “Here’s a company at the pinnacle of technology taking a colour from nature. Are we fusing nature and technology? Or are they taking a colour that could be construed as retro and introducing it in a modern equipment?,” she muses. “It was just so fascinating.”

Like Greenery, Pantone’s 2017 Colour of the Year, Pressman says the pervasiveness of cheerful shades hearkens a clamor for optimism and positive human connections. Amid the doom-and-gloom tenor of world politics and corruption in the technology sector, people are turning to colour to lift their moods, she explains. Pressman would know—she’s a product development and merchandising veteran who advises brands about colour trends at the Pantone Colour Institute. “We’re looking for colours that embrace us with warmth and reassurance in our continually shifting environment,” she says.

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