Each year, the Pantone Color Institute looks at the film and entertainment industry, art collections and new artists, fashion, design, travel, new technologies, and materials, as well as socio-economic conditions to establish the Color of the Year. 2019’s Living Coral is a lively orange hue with a strong pink undertone; the warmth of Living Coral speaks to a yearning to connect socially in meaningful ways but through digital tools.

Pantone Living Coral 2019 color of the year

The color occurs in the natural environment but also gives a lively presence in the digital world. The last few years have seen Pantone colors that translate well in both digital and analog contexts. Vibrant and saturated hues — such as Ultra Violet (2018) and Greenery (2017) — and lighter hues like Rose Quartz / Serenity (2016) read well in virtual and non-virtual spaces. Brand color choices can no longer be simply a matter of messaging but have to take digital viability into account.

Botanical Fibers Yarn in Living Coral

Botanical Fibre‘s naturally-dyed yarn in “Heirloom Red”.

In recent years, we’ve seen many tropical-themed trends in design and fashion: monstera leaves, bananas, pineapples, watermelons, flamingos and toucans. Living Coral is an extension of that trend and “is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of color,” describes the Pantone Color Institute. This hue is unexpectedly versatile and goes well with many other colors.

How to Use Living Coral

The Pantone Institute provides some insightful color palettes that support or work well with Living Coral. Whether you’re developing new on-trend products or styling a photo shoot, there are many ways that you can use Living Coral to speak to your customers and brand followers.

Focal Point with Supporting Neutrals/Muted Colors

The easiest way to use a strong color effectively is to surround it with supporting warm neutrals. Living Coral is an excellent accent color that looks great with khaki, gold metallic, navy, white and cream.

warm neutral palette

A warm neutral palette that allows Living Coral to shine. Image courtesy of 3rd Story Workshop.

Analogous Colors

Combining Living Coral with analogous colors gives a sense of calm, like a tropical sunset. Emily Jackson used a sunset palette of Kona Solid Cottons to create a harmonious ombre effect. The coral hue is sandwiched between peaches and berries/purples.

Lo & Behold Stitchery's Interwoven quilt pattern by Emily Jackson

A version of Lo & Behold Stitchery’s Interwoven quilt pattern by Emily Jackson (@lemonyquilts).

Complimentary Colors

Pairing it with another strong saturated color gives it even more energy, like a coral reef in tropical waters. Krista Hennebury of Poppyprint used Living Coral to surround a star of varying turquoise tones. This vibrant combination makes the eyes dance around the quilt.

A quadrant of Krista Hennebury's Pop Stars. Quilted by Carol Chernov

A quadrant of Krista Hennebury’s Pop Stars. Quilted by Carol Chernov.

Alternative Ways to use Living Coral in Your Craft Business

Beyond offering handmade products that feature Living Coral, you can use this vibrant hue in other ways in your craft business. You can highlight craft supplies from your shop to inspire your customers to create with Living Coral. Showing the supplies in different color combinations can appeal to those who aren’t naturally drawn to it as a stand-alone color.

Botanical Fibre's naturally-dyed yarn in "Heirloom Red"

Botanical Fibre‘s naturally-dyed yarn in “Heirloom Red” with supporting yarn colors. Photo courtesy of Emma Poliquin.

Product photography can also bring in Living Coral without altering your offerings at all. Use it as a backdrop for your existing products to give them new life for a short-run marketing campaign. Styling your offerings with coral accents can bring a fresh look for social media posts for 2019.

Glass House Studios' product photography

Glass House Studios‘ product photography with a coral background, featuring a variety of the shop’s items.

Whether you are developing new products that feature Living Coral or are looking to use it in your brand to enhance your business, this color is “buoyant” or transferrable in many different contexts. Have fun with it! As the Pantone Institute describes, “Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.” 

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