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Pantone Color of the Year 2019: Living Coral

Read Time: 15 mins

It’s HERE! The Pantone Color of the Year 2019 is Living Coral, announced on the 5th December 2018. 

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral

"An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge."

Let's dive into what this color represents, what the previous Colors of the Year were, and how you can include Living Coral in your designs.

What Are Pantone Colors?

If you’ve been working in graphic design for a while, you’ve probably heard of Pantone Colors, but do you know exactly what they are and why they’re so important to designers?

Pantone Colors for graphic designers are an incredible range of over 2,600 solid colors created by Pantone that are the foundation of the Pantone Matching System. This system is a standardised color matching system, designed by Pantone to ensure color accuracy and consistency in color online and across printing surfaces. 

Color accuracy and consistency has always been a challenge in printing, even with the popular CMYK system of printing, which can give small variations in results depending on the technique and paper used for printing.

Each Pantone color created for graphic design is identified by a proprietary naming system that consists of the Pantone brand name followed by a color name and/or a unique number, followed by a letter—usually C for coated, U for uncoated, M for matte, and TCX, which stands for Textile Paper Edition. These letters refer to the paper the color has been created to be printed on. So most Pantone numbers look something like this: Pantone 16-1546 TCX.  

Pantone ColorsPantone ColorsPantone Colors

Here’s an example of how the Pantone Matching System works:

  • A designer works with a client to refine branding colors using Pantone’s color chips.
  • She then creates a variety of stationery for the client using the selected colors. 
  • The client okays the proofs and sends the job to the printer, including the Pantone color chips for reference. 
  • The printer uses the Pantone color references and mixes the ink required using Pantone’s formula guide. 
  • With the mixed ink and the Pantone color chip as a color standard, the printer prints the stationery. With the Pantone Matching System, color consistency is guaranteed, from design to final delivery. 
  • Furthermore, if the same designer does further work on the same client’s brand materials but chooses a different printer, she can use the same process without being worried about color inconsistencies. 

That, in essence, is the beauty of the Pantone Matching System. 

What Is the Pantone Color of the Year?

Every year, since 2000, the Pantone Color Institute scours the globe to find a color worthy of carrying the title ‘Color of the Year’. 

The company itself defines the Color of the Year as:

“A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.”

And how do they come up with a color snapshot? 

According to their website, Pantone looks for new color influences in a number of diverse and sometimes surprising sources, including the entertainment industry, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations and new lifestyles, new technologies, materials, textures, social media platforms, global sporting events, and socio-economic conditions.  

Let’s have a closer look at Living Coral, followed by a look at some of the colors that made the grade in the past. 

Pantone Color of the Year 2019

Pantone Color of the Year 2019 is PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral.

Pantone Color of the Year 2019Pantone Color of the Year 2019Pantone Color of the Year 2019

Luscious, nourishing, life-sustaining and mostly hidden from view, PANTONE Living Coral captures the wonder and magic of our coral reefs, which support a quarter of all marine species and half a billion people around the world. 

PANTONE Living Coral embodies playfulness, energy, and a yearning to reconnect with nature. The choice also celebrates our innate need for optimism, authenticity, connection, and life-affirming activities. 

As Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, says:

“With consumers craving human interaction and social connection, the humanising and heartening qualities displayed by the convivial Pantone Living Coral hit a responsive chord.”

By calling their 2019 color ‘Living' Coral, Pantone draws our attention directly to our warming and polluted oceans, where half of the coral reefs are dead and where 90% will have died by 2050. Even more reason to celebrate these endangered eco-systems and go forth with optimism, as Pantone says, as we work to protect them. 

Pantone Color of the Year 2018

Pantone Color of the Year 2018 was PANTONE 18-3838 (Ultra Violet).

Pantone Color of the Year 2018Pantone Color of the Year 2018Pantone Color of the Year 2018

For 2018, Pantone invited us all to embrace the mystery of what lies ahead for us personally and as a species with their choice of the enigmatic ultra violet. Although it's long been a color that symbolises nobility and spirituality, Pantone embraced purple’s more contemporary roots as a favourite of non-conformists and musical innovators like Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, and Prince. 

As Leatrice Eiseman, the Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, put it:

"We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level.”

With this choice of ultra violet, their celebration of innovation and their references to the cosmos, the company seemed to be endorsing the idea that our future just might lie somewhere in the clouds, figuratively and literally. 

Other Big News From 2018

  • May: Prince Harry marries US actress Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel, with an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion.
  • June: Saudi Arabia finally allows women to drive.
  • June: World Cup 2018 is held in Russia.
  • July: Eritrea and Ethiopia officially declare an end to their 20-year conflict.
  • July: Over $109 billion is wiped from Facebook's market value, the largest single-day loss in corporate history, after the company warns investors that user growth has slowed following the data leak scandal. 
  • August: Affinity Publisher is launched in a free public beta test, completing the trio of Affinity creative apps.
  • August: Apple Inc. becomes the world's first $1 trillion company.
  • September: The Supreme Court of India decriminalises homosexuality.
  • October: Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, triggering a diplomatic crisis for Saudi Arabia.

Pantone Color of the Year 2017

Jumping forward, PANTONE 15-0343 (Greenery) was Pantone’s 18th Color of the Year in 2017. 

Pantone Color of the Year 2017Pantone Color of the Year 2017Pantone Color of the Year 2017

Gorgeous green, evocative of the forests and fields. Pantone saw greenery as the life-affirming shade of spring and a symbol of new beginnings. They clearly thought that at a time of mass deforestation, global warming and political upheaval, green was the symbol of hope and renewal we all needed. 

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, said of Greenery:

“Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalise, Greenery symbolises the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”

Pantone also equated their choice of green to the human need to reconnect with nature and to have more of it incorporated into urban planning, architecture, lifestyle and design choices globally.

Other Big News From 2017:

  • January: Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States
  • February: Adele wins five Grammy awards, but says in her speech that Beyoncé should have won Best Album for Lemonade.
  • February: Moonlight wins the Oscar for Best Motion Picture, but only after an epic mixup when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope and initially presented the award to La La Land.
  • March: Brexit officially starts. The U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May formally triggers the two-year process of leaving the EU. 
  • May: Emmanuel Macron wins France’s presidential election, becoming the country’s youngest-ever president.
  • July: A massive fire engulfs Grenfell Tower, a residential high-rise building in London, killing 72 people.
  • August & September: Three monster hurricanes ravage Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands within a four-week span.
  • October: The 'Me Too' movement gathers momentum after The New York Times publishes a story detailing numerous accusations of sexual harassment against movie producer Harvey Weinstein.
  • November: A Leonardo da Vinci painting, Salvator Mundi, sells for US$450 million at Christie's in New York, a new record price for any work of art.

The First Pantone Color of the Year 2000

The first ever Pantone Color of the Year was in 2000, and it was: PANTONE 15-4020 (Cerulean).

Pantone Colour of the Year 2000Pantone Colour of the Year 2000Pantone Colour of the Year 2000

Evocative of the sky and the sea, this blue was a color that the folks at Pantone felt best represented the new millennium and the hope for peace and tranquility in the coming century. 

Said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute:

"Surrounding yourself with Cerulean blue could bring on a certain peace because it reminds you of time spent outdoors, on a beach, near the water - associations with restful, peaceful, relaxing times. In addition, it makes the unknown a little less frightening because the sky, which is a presence in our lives every day, is a constant and is always there.”

Pantone also noted that blue is related to the water and raises awareness of the issue of water shortages around the world and concerns about the exhaustion of our natural resources.

Other Big News From 2000:

  • January: Y2K bug fails to happen.
  • March: American Beauty wins five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Kevin Spacey, and Best Director for Sam Mendes.
  • May: The billionth living person in India is born.
  • July: 24-year-old Tiger Woods becomes the youngest player to win a Grand Slam in golf.
  • July: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling is published, and becomes the fastest-selling book ever.
  • August: DeviantART is launched by Scott Jarkoff, Matt Stephens, and Angelo Sotira. 
  • September: Steve Jobs introduces the public beta of Mac OS X.
  • November: The first inhabitants arrive at the International Space Station; the crew comprises one American and two Russian astronauts.
  • December: George W Bush wins the US presidential election after several Florida recounts

7 Amazing Living Coral Design Assets

If you're also moved and energised by Pantone's 2019 choice of Living Coral, how about getting to work on some coral-themed designs? Here are seven premium resources to get you started. You can download them all from Envato Market and Envato Elements.

Corporate Business Card

Get ahead of the curve with these Living Coral business card templates. These high-resolution layered PSD files are ideal for both personal and corporate use and are super easy to customise and edit.

Corporate Business CardCorporate Business CardCorporate Business Card

Retro Type Invitation Postcard

Try the retro trend and coral, and set yourself apart from the pack with this editable invitation postcards. These gorgeous postcards come in AI, EPS and PSD versions and have a print size of 7"x5" at 300dpi. 

Retro Type Invitation PostcardRetro Type Invitation PostcardRetro Type Invitation Postcard

Watercolor CORAL and GREY Digital Paper Pack

What could be better than combining wonderful coral tones and greys? Check out these trendy watercolor patterns and hand-crafted backgrounds from this digital paper pack. These 14 unique designs are 6x6 inches at 300dpi and are perfect for scrapbooking, photo albums, gift wrapping, cards and many other projects.

Coral digital paper packCoral digital paper packCoral digital paper pack

Watercolor CORAL and GREY Design

Coral digital paper packCoral digital paper packCoral digital paper pack

Branding Identity Mock Up - Orange Tech

Looking to create a new brand or update your old one? Get on trend with this brand identity mockup. The pack includes 13 PSD files which include useful items like an A4 folder, envelope, business card, CD with cover, A4 letterhead, and all the other stationery you'd need as a brand. 

Branding Identity Mock Up - Orange TechBranding Identity Mock Up - Orange TechBranding Identity Mock Up - Orange Tech

Lora - Android Material Design UI Kit

Looking for an on-trend Living Coral UI Kit? Why not try this one, which features mainly shades of orange and coral. With over 80 Material Design screens and 12 popular categories, this colorful, contemporary design is compatible with Sketch and Photoshop and is fully customisable.

UI Kit in Living CoralUI Kit in Living CoralUI Kit in Living Coral

Coral Texture and Silhouettes

Take the color name literally with this seamless vector coral pattern and celebrate the splendour of the real living coral in all its splendour. These textures and silhouettes come in five format versions: AI, EPS, PSD, PNG, and JPG, all for your convenience.


Download these premium resources from Envato Market and Envato Elements to aid in your Living Coral designs, and then check out our tutorials below.

Get Your 'Living Coral' Tutorial Groove On

Are you into Living Coral as much as we are? Then you've got to try these tutorials and incorporate shades of living coral into your designs.

Share Your Living Coral Designs With Us

If you're as in love with this color as much as we are, create something with it and share your work with us! We'd love to see what you come up with. 

And don't forget to check out the helpful collection of tutorials we've shared here if you get stuck. For more hot Living Coral assets, check out Envato Market and Envato Elements. Have fun!

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