January 26, 2019
You probably didn’t miss Pantone’s Colour of the Year announcement a few months back. What you may have missed out on, however, is capitalising on the “Living Coral” theme.
Pantone’s Colour of the Year: Living Coral
Living Coral, labelled PANTONE 16-1546, has been dubbed as the colour of 2019.
Coral is considered a quaternary colour as it a combination of multiple secondary and tertiary colours, namely orange, red and magenta. In other words, both warm tones and cool tones can compliment coral – depending on the ratio.
On a psychological level, the peachy-orange shade reflects the fusion between nature and technology in modern life.
The colour also brings us into the depths of the sea, reminding us of the endangered coral reefs. “It is evocative of how coral reefs provide shelter to a diverse kaleidoscope of nature’s colour and serves as a source of sustenance and shelter to sea life,” says Laurie Pressman, vice president of Pantone.
This message is especially relevant in the fashion industry today, where major efforts in reducing environmental impacts are being made.
Image Source: Pantone.com
Although Pantone’s colour of the year is more of a forecast than fact, we’ve already seen the impact of Living Coral in the design industry. The iPhone XR’s in the coral colour-way is an example of this.
Due to the colour’s mix, it bears a large significance in the realm of fashion and beauty as it is a versatile shade that can work for a number of skin tones. The colour was seen throughout Spring/Summer 2019 collections, with Marc Jacobs and Brandon Maxwell creating full looks in coral tones for the runway.
If you haven’t taken advantage of Living Coral’s popularity, you should definitely get started.
Applying Pantone’s Colour of the Year in Your Brand
Here are 3 ways you can go about it:
- Plan the colour into your assortments (Assortment Planning)
- Revolve your promotions around products in coral (Marketing and Promotional Strategies)
- Enhance your visuals with Living Coral (Visual Merchandising)
Plan the colour into your assortments
For those who haven’t finalised your assortment plan for the year, do consider incorporating Living Coral into your assortment. Brands such as Prada, Altazurra and Acne Studios used the shade as an accent colour to contrast monochrome and neutral shades. Marc Jacobs used different tones of coral for tops, coats and cocktail dresses for his Spring/Summer 2019 collection.
From left: Acne Studios, Prada, Marc Jacobs. Image source: Vogue.com
To increase the depth of your existing assortment, introduce different variations of colours for specific seasons. Living Coral would be a perfect addition for your Spring/Summer collection, as traditionally fast fashion brands adopt a brighter colour scheme for the first half of the year since the weather warms up in the Northern Hemisphere. Vice versa for winter seasons.
Colour schemes for different seasons (Mango UK)
The chart above compares Mango UK different in colour schemes for the seasons in 2018. Brighter colours such as blue, red, orange and yellow took a bigger portion of the colour scheme in the Spring/Summer season, whereas the darker colours such as brown, black and grey dominated the Winter season.
To cater customers on the opposite of the globe, do include this shade for any resort collections. Living Coral also ties in with the theme of sea and travel, which makes it the perfect colour for a vacation wardrobe.
Key Takeaway: Plan your colours well by the season. Incorporate corals during Spring/Summer seasons or when planning for a vacation-themed collection.
Revolve your promotions around products in coral
For those who already have existing coral products, this is a perfect opportunity to create a marketing strategy around the colour. A really easy way to boost purchases for specific products is to create promotional codes connected to a benefit. The benefits can range from a discount, free-shipping, credit or a free gift, which serve as an incentive for customers.
Image Source: Missguided Instagram
Fast fashion online retailers such as Missguided and Boohoo often use promo codes as part of their marketing strategies. After all, promo codes or coupons generally improve the customer’s shopping satisfaction.
To cash in on the Living Coral craze, strategise a promo code specifically for coral related products to boost online revenue.
Key Takeaway: If you already have existing products in coral, you can generate hype by creating specific coupon codes.
Enhance your visuals with Living Coral
Another way to involve Living Coral is to enhance the visual merchandising of your website. Colours make a great impact on purchasing behaviour, as warm colours like red, yellow and orange are appealing to impulsive shoppers. If you’ve noticed, sales and promotions tend to be advertised in red as it evokes urgency and excitement. According to colour theory studies, orange tones such as coral specifically have psychological connotations to encouragement and energy.
Creating the right environment online using colours is an important factor in persuading the customers to purchase. An overuse of bright and primary colours may lead customers to feel overwhelmed or turned off; too many dark shades may appear overly serious and create a sombre mood. Ensure you tailor the colour theories to suit the message or tone-of-voice of your brand.
Image Source: Nastygal.com
An example of this is NastyGal. The online retailer caters affordable clothing to women between 16-25. The way their homepage is designed communicates that they are offering fun, girly apparel by the choice colours, typography and imageries used.
Key Takeaway: Display coral-themed visuals on your website to promote the colour. However, take note of your own brand messaging before you start.
Being aware of colour trends such as Pantone’s Colour of the Year is important because of its impact in the fashion industry. Learning about product design and colour theory can be beneficial when you’re updating assortments or delivering newness. However, it is important to keep your brand identity and brand story in mind so that the colour scheme you adopt won’t interfere with your core brand values.