Marsala, Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2015, has been the talk of the town recently, and I thought that I’d throw my hat into the ring and give my opinion about what I think is a rather unexpected choice.
First, I’ll say that this an absolutely gorgeous color for cosmetics. I can instantly see this as a rich, red lipstick or gloss. And I would totally wear Marsala nail polish. Fashion and home decor? Yep, this has loads of potential. I’m thinking beautiful silk blouses and dresses and bold, patterned pillows. But, when I first saw this color, I immediately went back, way back, to the 15th & 16th centuries and my absolute favorite periods in art history, the Northern Renaissance and Italian Renaissance. Think Bruegel. Botticelli. Caravaggio. And one of my personal favorites, van Eyck, whose stunningly realistic oil paintings won me over as soon as I laid eyes on them in my very first art history class.
Above, clockwise from top : Dulle Griet (Mad Meg) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1562) // Madonna in the Church (detail) by Jan van Eyck (c.1430s) // The Ambassadors Depart (from The Stories from the Life of St Ursula) by Vittore Carpaccio (c.1495-1500) // Cestello Annunciation by Sandro Botticelli (c.1489-1490) // The Musicians (detail) by Caravaggio (c.1595-1596) // The Arnolfini Marriage by Jan van Eyck (1434)
So, what does this have to do with stationery, you ask? Well, in a way, I’m still figuring that out. At first glance, I thought that this deep, rich red seemed at odds with many of the current color and style trends in stationery and invitation design. It’s not a color that I’d call “soft”, so I can’t see it paired with the light, peachy pinks, minty greens, and pastel teals that are so popular. Or can I? And I think it would be a lovely match for the “glam” hues that are so hot right now, but it would definitely add a deeper, darker touch.
The more that I’ve looked at Marsala, thought about Marsala, the more my mind has opened to it. From the start, I thought that it would be absolutely gorgeous paired with gold metallics. Talk about Valentine’s Day card potential, not to mention the potential for NEXT holiday season. And, hey, wouldn’t it be awesome as a metallic, too? I also think that it has fantastic potential with minimalist, modern looks. Think hairline sans-serif fonts and thin, geometric patterns. I’m still on the fence about how I feel about pairing it with a brushstroke or watercolor look. It could be cool, or it could … well, it could look like blood, which is great if you’re designing for Halloween. What do you think?
I’m so excited to see what stationery and invitation designers will do with Marsala in the coming year. With the depth of creativity that is out there, I know to expect the unexpected. And I also know that we’re sure to see some applications of this color that are wild, innovative, and completely awesome!
images from Pantone, WebMuseum, and Web Gallery of Art