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Pantone Color of the Year – Why is it important to marketers?

Pantone Color of the Year – Why is it important to marketers?

By Madison Priest and Lori Owens

The Pantone Color Institute has been featuring one hue as the Color of The Year since 2000 – studying color trends throughout the year, taking into consideration fashion trends, graphic design, marketing, social media and even the current political climate when doing their research.

The 2019 color – Living Coral, or Pantone 16-1546 – is “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.” This color brings forth feelings of happiness and fun as well as modern and authentic tones. It was chosen to help connect people and remind us of nature and its beauty in an age of ever-growing social media and technology.


What is the PANTONE Color of the Year?

Officially defined as: A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude. Trends across all categories and industries reflect the culture we live in. As marketers, our primary goal to be successful is to connect with people and to do that, it is important to be in touch with these trends.


True Red was chosen in recognition of the September 11 attacks. This deep shade of red is meaningful and patriotic in remembrance of the fallen and courageous. Red is also known as a color of power or passion and is associated with love, something we all felt and needed to feel at that time.




Sand Dollar was chosen to express concerns about he 2006 economy. As a warm neutral shade, it relaxes and soothes nerves because it reminds us of the desert and soft sandy beaches.





The economy has shown up more than once as inspiration for the color of the year. In 2009 Mimosa was chosen during a time of economic uncertainty and political change. This color of yellow expresses hope and reassurance while inspiring optimism and innovation.



For the first time ever, in 2016 there were 2 colors chosen together as the color of the year. This choice coincided with the discussions of societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity. Also, the warm embracing rose tone and the tranquil blue reflected the need for connection and relaxation in turbulent times.


The color of the year is not always loaded with economic, political, or societal issues, sometimes it is expressive of an overall trend across the culture in fashion, architecture, and lifestyle choices.

How can you use the Color of the Year?

Should you change the color palette of your brand each year to be “on trend”? I think you know as branding experts, our answer to that would be no. It’s a trend and incorporating the color of the year into your campaign designs and creative tactics will keep your efforts up-to-date and current.

  • The more people see the color, the more they will react positively to it.
  • It is primarily a consumer-oriented and intended for consumer products and design.
  • It could be integrated in upcoming marketing campaigns and products.


Social Media – One of the best outlets to feature the Color of the Year

Make a splash by integrating the Color of the Year into your social marketing efforts. Ask your influencers to incorporate the color into their posts or provide them with a product in the color. Most will already be aware of the color and will be excited to incorporate it into their feed. The warmth of Living Coral is inviting and will inspire feelings of joy as it relates to your brand. Be sure to use hashtag #COTY2019 to maximize your social reach.

Steel brings together data, technology, creative and influence to deliver spectacular growth for brands that are marketing to the American family. Working side-by-side with client marketing teams and in-house agencies, Steel extends your leverage by contributing strategy, creativity, bandwidth and best practices. For healthcare, education, government and CPG clients especially, Steel’s full service, integrated agency capabilities and knowledge of marketing automation makes ideas possible and execution practical. Call Steel with your marketing challenges, and if we are not the right fit, we will point you in the right direction.
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  • Pantone Color Intelligence
  • House Beautiful