It’s one of the most highly anticipated questions in the design, art and fashion worlds: What will Pantone’s color of the year be?
For 2019, the company announced that Living Coral, a bright coral shade, is its Color of the Year. Pantone describes Living Coral as “an animated, life-affirming shade of orange, with golden undertones.” Living Coral replaces last year’s color of Ultra Violet, a deep purple hue.
The decision of what will be the next year’s Color of the Year is up to the Pantone Color Institute, Pantone’s consulting division that analyzes each year’s color trends. In particular, they pay attention to those that have appeared in branding efforts. Pantone pointed to Airbnb and Apple’s use of coral over the past few months as a sign of the color’s domination.
Pantone also cited Living Coral as a color of carefree happiness. A press release says it “symbolizes our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits”—a feeling that, perhaps, people might be craving in today’s landscape.
For one important global watchdog group, this year’s selection choice was more important than simply color. Ocean Conservancy says that Living Coral echoes its hope and optimism for the ocean in 2019.
The Real Living Coral
Since the 1980s, the global average of reef cover has decreased by 20-50%. The culprits are habitat destruction, pollution, overfishing, disease and climate change. Periods of extreme heat are especially dangerous for tropical reefs. For example, late in 2018, an early heat wave hit the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and fueled early predictions of another bad bleaching season to come. The full effect of the Southern Hemisphere summer on the reef will be clearer in the next few weeks.
However, the Ocean Conservancy says that more strategies are being tested to help coral. “Gardening” of baby corals in protected environments, then planting them out on reefs to grow to adulthood, is being tested at ever larger scales. Scientists are breeding corals that are thought to be tougher in the face of environmental change to see if they can help repopulate damaged reefs. A large bed of seagrass was discovered near the GBR that helps remove carbon pollution from the local area and decreases the effect of acidification on nearby coral animals.
More and more leaders are taking action to protect marine systems from the effects of climate change. California released its own fourth Climate Assessment in the fall, followed by a comprehensive plan outlining what the state will do to take action on ocean acidification. At COP24, numerous events and groups focused on ocean action, promoting coordination and attention to the links between the ocean, climate action, and human well-being.
All in all, it looks like the cooperative energy and increasing focus on our ocean will truly make 2019 the year to celebrate Living Coral.