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For the past few years, the colors that Pantone has selected for their Color of the Year have been pretty basic or at least easy to understand given the name: Tangerine Tango for 2012, Emerald for 2013, and Radiant Orchid for 2014. This year, the color is a shade that not everyone will know, and one that some people are already responding negatively to: Marsala.
A video posted by PANTONE (@pantone) on Dec 12, 2014 at 3:41pm PST
Described as a "naturally robust and earthy wine red," Marsala is closer to the burgundy end of the spectrum. In explaining the process of choosing the color, Pantone Color Institute's Executive Director said in an interview that while the color is in the same "emotional concept of color," but the Institute felt it was time "for something that spoke to people's real needs, the need for nurturing, the need for something that was more robust, that had a life force that was intrinsic to it." She also described Marsala as being versatile and having a "sophistication" about it.
While some people are eagerly jumping on the trend, John Brownlee of FastCo, for one, is not convinced. "Inspired by the ingenuity with which Pantone was going about describing what is, in actuality, a rather gross swatch that falls somewhere on the spectrum between blood and poop," he writes, "I ended up spending the rest of the webinar coming up with some other colors that Marsala reminds me of." Brownlee came up with a pretty substantial list of less-than-sophisticated Marsala objects including "the color of wine teeth," "the color of an old Band-Aid found behind the toilet," "the color of a used maxi pad," and "the color of an old chocolate bar after you scrape that weird white film off."
We'll see if more people embrace Marsala as 2015 rolls around or if they will be turned off as much as Brownlee was.