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‘Living coral’ is Pantone’s new color of the year - but how is it chosen?

Pantone video/Screenshot

Pantone announced its 2019 “Color of the Year” as “Living Coral,” a peachy hue the company says “embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.”

It’s a follow up to the more “complex and contemplative” Ultraviolet from 2017, and the cooler, “refreshing and revitalizing” nature tone Greenery from the year before.

“With everything that’s going on today, we’re looking for those humanizing qualities because we’re seeing online life dehumanizing a lot of things,” Pantone vice president Laurie Pressman said, according to the Associated Press. “We’re looking toward those colors that bring nourishment and the comfort and familiarity that make us feel good. It’s not too heavy. We want to play. We want to be uplifted.”

Its official Pantone number is 16-1546.

What is Pantone?

Pantone is a U.S. corporation that specializes in color. It helps companies use color in marketing and branding and keeps a library of “Pantone Standards,” to keep colors consistent no matter where they are printed. The company also does research and forecasting — including by choosing the color of the year, which the company says “has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, as well as product, packaging, and graphic design.”

How is the Color of the Year chosen?

Pantone’s Color Institute is a team within the company that “highlights top seasonal runway colors, forecasts global color trends, and advises companies on color for product and brand visual identity,” according to Pantone.

The yearly quest begins in the spring, and the team spends the summer and fall months analyzing fashion shows, street art and social media, according to Ad Age.

“We ask ourselves about the message that color brings, and how we may be trying to use color to shape our experience,” Color Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman said in 2016, according to The New York Times.

The team collect “proof points,” or examples of colors they see trending across the art and design world, and then gradually narrow the selection down until they come to a final decision, according to the paper.

“Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact color, relevant social media platforms and even upcoming sporting events that capture worldwide attention,” Pantone wrote.

“It’s not just the way the color stands alone but what you are using it with that makes it be perceived as something new and fresh. We look at the art world. Is there a collection of art that’s being shown? Is it traveling the world and going to get a lot of publicity? Will people be influenced by that?” Eiseman said in an interview with Glamour.

How does the color get its name?

“If I say ‘chocolate,’ you have a vision. What does that vision conjure up for you? The name has to really fit with what the color looks like. Your mouth needs to water and emotionally connect. That’s the goal. That’s what color does—it’s all about associations,” Color Institute Vice President Laurie Pressman said, according to Fast Company.

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