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Predicting Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year

I was a bit surprised that Melbourne design agency Jack and Huei responded to 2019’s Pantone Color of the Year by nominating “Bleached Coral” as 2020’s Pantone Color of the Year.

Pantone usually declares a color of the year in order to focus on current events that usually lean positive. But Jack and Huei did just the opposite. They believe the 2019 choice, Living Coral, was in poor taste seeing as most of the loss of coral reef has been destroyed due to the effects of climate change. Their response of a very pale, unhealthy, dying blue coral Pantone 115-1 U swatch matched where they believe coral reefs currently stand.

Satirical artist statement created by Jack and Huei

I do agree it was in poor taste for Pantone to call 2019’s Color of the Year “Living Coral” instead of simply “Coral.” Their landing page for discussion around their chosen color emphasizes the human desire for social connection with their color choice and how it is particularly seen with Living Coral.

According to Australia’s lead managers of the Great Barrier Reef, the marine environment is drastically changing due to:

  • A steady increase in sea temperature, which is causing coral bleaching.
  • Sea storms that are damaging habitats and coral reefs.
  • pH changes in ocean acidity affecting fish eggs.
  • several more issues.

Bringing this issue to the attention of digital designers can help influence the way we advertise by making everyone more aware of events occurring in our environment.

Connecting colors that relate to an issue make them more memorable, easier to design for different mediums, as well as keeping them cohesive in a campaign. “Bleached Coral” may not be the sexiest name for a color, but it’s making a statement.

With that, my prediction for Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year is Pantone 12-0313 Seafoam Green ¾ Healthy, organic and that supports growth.


Original photography created by Lucy Litman

Editor’s Note: Pantone announced their 2020 color of the year, Classic Blue, after this blog was published. All about their announcement here.