Studio Brunstrum

Pantone’s Color of the Year: Love or Loathe?

January 28, 2015

Have you heard? In early December Pantone announced its annual color of the year…marsala!

Have you heard? In early December Pantone announced its annual color of the year…marsala! Since 1999, when Pantone created a sensation by announcing its Color of the Century (cerulean blue) the company has named an official color of the year evoking rants and raves. Do you remember radiant orchid from last year and emerald in 2013?Photo Courtesy of

Much like the fortified wine that gives marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies richness, sophistication, and natural earthiness. It’s hearty yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors. Marsala is versatile and flattering for men and women, as seen in interiors, fashion, and cosmetics. “This earthy red has wine and a very warm brown underneath, which gives the feeling of groundedness, strength, and confidence,” says Leatrice Eisman, Executive Director of Pantone Color Institute. “It has a richness that lends sophistication. When you wear it’s it is a self-fulfilling prophecy—you’ll find you get positive reactions from others and it builds up your confidence.”

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While I personally love this color for its versatility – I think it’s a great cross between the bold qualities of a deep red and the neutrality of brown – not all of the feedback on this color has been positive. New York magazine’s The Cut called marsala “icky.” In a snarky post titled “The Problem With Pantone's Color of the Year” it complained that Marsala reminded some people of grimy rust and other images too unsavory to mention!

I prefer Pantone’s tastier associations of this year’s color with wine and juicy sweet pomegranate. How about you?

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Susan Brunstrum
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