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The Truth About the Pantone 2020 Color of the Year

Sep 27, 2019
The truth about the Pantone color of the year. It is not bleached coral.

Rumor has it that Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year has been announced as Bleached Coral, in recognition of the degradation of coral reefs. This rumor has been so pervasive (we found it on numerous sites & in webinars) that we decided to get to the bottom of it. We reached out to Pantone and we confirmed that Pantone has not yet announced their 2020 Color of the Year.

The Bleached Coral rumor came from Pantone's 2019 Color of the Year, Living Coral 16-1546. Pantone described the choice as an "animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.” We gotta say it is a fabulous color, however it caused a bit of a stir.

living coral with fish

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Jack Railton-Woodcock and Huei Yin Wong, a young creative team from Melbourne, Australia created a powerful response campaign proposing that the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year be Bleached Coral P-115-IU, describing Pantone’s 2019 Living Coral as "tone-deaf, and downright irresponsible.” 

bleached coral in the ocean

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As the climate change crisis grows increasingly alarming, it is incumbent upon leaders of all industries, including Pantone, to raise awareness. "Pantone was in the best position to draw attention to this issue, and they didn't – which is one of the points we're trying to make,” Jack and Huei stated. Misleading presentations of the health and survival of the coral reefs is detrimental to the work climate activists are doing to draw attention to the crisis.

paint card

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Pantone’s Color System has become the most important and comprehensive color-matching system in the world. As an authority in design, Pantone guides decisions made in the design industry with paint and textiles and influences the fields of fashion, marketing, social media, and branding.

Staging Studio predicts that Pantone's Color of the Year will be Pantone 7549 C, with a name like Rebellious Gold. Perhaps in response to the backlash against the 2019 selection of Living Coral, Pantone's recent issue of VIEWPOINT COLOUR, Rise Up, focuses on the culture of protest around the world against climate change. We suggest the Color of the Year could be a warm yellow that represents the playful optimism of youth and the urgency of the climate crisis.

orange color card

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Update 12/11/2020: The Pantone 2020 Color of the Year ended up being Classic Blue (PANTONE 19-4052), a dependable, calm hue. Very different than the strong yellow we predicted for 2020. However, the Pantone 2021 Colors of the Year are Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (a bright yellow). So, we were just a year off on our prediction. Read our predictions on How Covid Will Impact Real Estate Trends.

Staging Studio is the leading training provider and resource for the Home Staging industry. Click here for more info on our courses, including our online Master Color Consultant® course. 

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