This year the Pantone Color Institute has chosen LIVING CORAL as 2019’s Color of The Year.

I have known for a very long time that color is energy, but I have not thought about color as a “living” form. When I looked at Pantone’s 2019 color choice, I decided to do my own research and see why the color was called “living coral”. I may now have to reevaluate how I refer to color and the role it plays in my world.

Pantone’s color of the year is based on extensive research and analysis for the colors that influence our lifestyles. The Pantone Color Institute partners with global brands to forecast trends in colors. So from the fashion runway to home furnishing, from advertising to the auto industry and any other business and industry that paints, prints or dyes a product, Pantone probably as a hand in the color decision making process.

Pantone’s description of Living Coral is “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge. It is warmth, comfort and nourishment.  It focuses on our shifting environment, color that appears in a natural surrounding and promoting a playful expression. A fusion of modern life that appeals to our natural surroundings.” Living Coral reminds us of ocean-side resorts, warm weather, vacation clothing and tropical decor. Print media and social media advertising hotels and travel agencies will use Living Coral to entice us to get out of the cold and enjoy the warmth and comfort of seaside villages.

What is Living Coral?

The Smithsonian’s describes coral as a simple structure producing a mineral skeleton and is related to sea anemones. The individual coral polyps are very small 1.5 cm, but each coral polyp lives in a colony, these continue to grow into mounds. The bigger colonies are known as a coral reef. The best and largest know is the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia. Dead or dying coral turns a chalky white. This is mineral skeletal structure that turns white after the death of coral. Over fishing, acidification of water/water pollution, sunlight/heating of the ocean waters are all causing coral reefs to disappear.

When we think of nature and the colors it paints it gives us a description of what we see and what we feel. By referring to “Living Coral” Pantone may be helping to remind us where we leave an environmental foot print. The Coral Reefs of the world are suffering because of the change in the ocean’s temperature, pollution and the over fishing of our oceans.

The Color of Coral

Living Coral can be green, brown, reddish, blue, mauve or purple, depending on where it lives and thrives in the ocean. The relationship of the shallow ocean water the microorganisms and other algae that procure the food for the coral, determine its color.

All color vibrates with energy, sending us a message that we see and feel. Color is everywhere in our lives and is always sending a message. Incorporating color into our lifestyles will remind us of how The Message of Color talks to us and how it can tell a story or speak to us about our relationship with the role of nature.

Traditionally and commercially the color of coral is seen as a soft orange with a hint of pink, and a touch of gold or yellow. It falls under the warm color palette. Coral can be bright and energetic or soft and subtle. Of course, the product to which any color is applied may also influence how we see and respond to color. Combining the various amounts of red, yellow and white are the base colors for coral. Red and yellow create orange. Red and white create pink. These colors combined in specific amounts create the color coral. Uniting these color combinations creates the unique qualities and attributes of coral.

  • Red represents energy and being out-going and assertive.
  • Yellow represents imagination and the desire to help the world.
  • Orange symbolizes a good disposition, being with people and supports the good will of others.
  • Pink embodies caring and gentleness creating harmony and love.

Remember that color can enhances our quality of life. Color serves more than just an ornamental function in our surroundings. Living Coral in 2019 just may help us be more aware of our environmental foot print. The products we wear or use to decorate our homes can add beauty and be a reminder of The Message of Color.

Research and Reference sources: 

Smithsonian, Ocean,


Colours of the Soul, June McLeod

The Power of Color, Dr. Morton Walker

Color & Numbers, Louise L. Hay

The Secret Language of Color, Inna Segal