Pantone 2019 Color of the Year

Are you ready to embrace your inner tropical fish?

While sea levels rise and reefs crumble, Pantone color 16-1546, aka “Living Coral,” asserts the power of light and maintains that hope can and must thrive within all of us.

Where last year’s color, Ultra Violet, embraced themes of social progress and aggressive motion forward, Living Coral presents a desire for change that is rooted in warmth and nurturing rather than rebellion. It’s a playful color, invoking the vibrant life that flourishes in places like reefs and rainforests while simultaneously staying grounded in the natural world rather than the artificial.

Living Coral is a far cry from the nail polish favored by your flamboyant great-aunt. It’s gentler, not-quite neutral and wholly optimistic. “Cheer up, friend,” it seems to say. “We’re in this together, and that’s beautiful.”

Imagine shimmering schools of diverse and colorful fish, gracefully—and sometimes comically—dancing the dance of life in the warm, shallow waters of a reef. During a time when passions tend to run high, Living Coral invites us to take a break from the things that give us tunnel vision and to lighten up, already!

Coral is a communal life-form, after all, made up of distinct individuals working together toward a common goal. This subtle give-and-take, not to be confused with docility nor with exploitation, strikes a balance between what it means to be a unique creature living as part of a whole.

Specifically, the role of technology in our current life is a theme to be tackled under Living Coral. As a species, humans have the capacity to communicate better than ever before. We are also protected and insulated by various structures and institutions, but Living Coral doesn’t see that as an obstacle to empathy at all. By choosing to be positive in how we interact with others and use technology, we, also, can find the balance vital to life.

According to the Pantone Color Institute, Living Coral is intended to be “animating and life-affirming,” without being abrasive. The tone is a softer version of other corals, with a “golden undertone that energizes and enlivens.” This invitation to playfulness is not mere distraction from the troubles of the world, however.

Instead, the color embraces the idea that you can’t beat doom and gloom by joining in on the misery; you must empower your joy and share your light. Focus on strengths rather than weaknesses, on what you can do rather than what you cannot. Stay connected and don’t lose touch with your own individual spark, says Living Coral. When we cultivate our unique gifts, the light we shine together can pierce the darkest depths of the sea, so everyone can bask in the glow.