Living Coral — The Color of 2019

6 min readDec 13, 2018

Hey, you might have heard the news that Living Coral was announced as PANTONE Color of the Year. You probably wonder what this is and why is it so important that people mention it. I know that my feed blows up by the end of every year. However, if you are not a designer like me, you might not know what all the hype is for. So, let’s start from here:

What is PANTONE and why do you need to care?

PANTONE is a color naming system, that helps designers reach the desired color accurately for any product they create — physical or digital. In 1963 the company revolutionized the industry with the first PANTONE Matching System color swatch book with 500 colors. They kept developing it to thousands of color swatches.

You might now think “why is a color swatch book important when in my local Do-It-Yourself (DIY) store there are tons of free ones?!”. Well, PANTONE’s color swatches are SO precise that if a person in Bulgaria has it and a person in America or Japan has it and meet to compare their color swatches, the colors will be pretty much the same. This is especially important for branding.

People have a different understanding and naming for color. For example, let’s take Coca-Cola, the worldwide beverage brand. You know Coca Cola’s logo and it’s red, right? It’s red is very iconic and essential for the branding of the company, it is known almost anywhere in the world. Some might name it as a tomato red, others might name it bright red or else. Different people around the world will imagine different reds when they hear your description of this red. This is the same for printers. Furthermore, if on the computer the color is the same RGB/HEX code, different printers will print otherwise the same color code differently.

To be sure that the different printers around the world print the exact same color on the bottle labels, you need a universal color naming system. Moreover, you also need a swatch label to compare it with. This is where PANTONE comes to help. When you know that Coca Cola’s color by PANTONE is PMS 2347 C, you can be safe that the China label manufacturer is going to have the right red on their bottles like the rest of the world AND as on every merchandise or other brand material with their iconic red.

Side note: PANTONE color books are quite expensive! Even the process of getting the right color by PANTONE is long and hard. This is why some manufacturers might charge additionally if you want your color to be achieved this way.

Okay, great we now know what PANTONE is and why it is important.


What about their Color of the Year?

With the years, PANTONE grew to more than just a color language for designers. It became a global design force and influence. The PANTONE Color Institute studies color trends throughout the year in order to decide on the next PANTONE Color of the Year for two decades now. They take into consideration all aspects of society: fashion, marketing, interiors, social media, movies, science, and even politics. The hue chosen as Color of the Year has become increasingly influential in the vast world of design and brand marketing and could surely be considered in presentations too!

This year PANTONE named it Living Coral, which as defined by them is “vibrant, yet mellow” color of the red hue. In my eyes, this color is filled with intense emotions, as it is optimistic and warm, but it is also mellow and reminds me of the current environmental situation. In the past years, there was continuous reporting of the significant death of the coral reefs around the world. It is mainly due to coral mining, pollution, and overfishing. With this year’s choice of PANTONE, I see an attempt to seal the vision of the corals in their full color, before they are gone.

Furthermore, I see this as a message to everyone to be more conscious of our decisions that impact the environment. Panton hits another hot spot in our society with this warm color. As Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the PANTONE Color Institute, says, “With consumers craving human interaction and social connection, the humanizing and heartening qualities displayed by the convivial Living Coral hit a responsive chord.” And with this in mind, I agree, without a second thought, that it can be described as social color.

Digital representation:

RGB 250 114 104

HEX #FA7268

What does this mean to the world of presentations?

I think we are going to see even more and more presentations with this color at big conferences, events and especially ones for fashion, interiors, technology, and innovation. Like last year’s hue, Ultra Violet was a big part of the presentations or identity of most events. Don’t miss the chance to be one of the first ones that are going to set the trend in 2019.

Important: Probably, most of you work for a company that has a well-established corporate identity and won’t have the ability to use this color for their kick-ass presentation. Brand identity is important, so I strongly recommend you use your own palette if you don’t have the freedom. If you have somewhat of a freedom with your corporate presentations, however, have a look at the color palettes we prepared especially for you to get you inspired. If your corporate color is similar to any of the mentioned, you can play around with the palette freely.

Color palette inspiration including Living Cora

Using PANTONE color palettes, we prepared a quick guide for using Living Coral in presentations. Use the palettes to set the mood and theme for your next presentation in 2019.


Moods and themes: Comforting, Mellow, Conscious, Earthy, Adventure

Shimmering sunset

Moods and themes: Warm, Energetic, Social, Vibrant, Sweet, Optimistic, Playful, Expressive


Moods and themes: Social, Warm, Tender, Comforting, Soft, Healthy


Moods and themes: Tropical, Energetic, Expressive, Joyful, Vibrant, Bright, Innovative, Tech, Fun, Spontaneous

Under the sea

Moods and themes: Marine, Summer, Tech, Social, Trustworthy, Vivid

BONUS: A treat for the designers.

Here you can download all the Living Coral palettes in ASE file format for Adobe Applications. To install on Photoshop, simply click on the menu icon in the Swatches panel and click Load Swatches… then select the downloaded files. See here how to install on Illustrator and InDesign. Have fun making more combinations with them!

Originally published at on December 13, 2018.


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