Marsala, Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year

Pantone 2015 Color of the Year : Marsala

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.

My Thoughts on Marsala

Above, clockwise from topDulle 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?

Marsala + Brushy = Bloody? Cool? Bloody Cool?

Marsala-Inspired Palette

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

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7 comments on “Marsala, Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year

  1. laura commented //

    I’m not sure what I think! My grandma finally got rid of her couch that was that colour…. But I think you’re right, it will look smashing with gold, and might look neat mixed with some really saturated brights. We’ll see!

  2. Nancy commented //

    I like the color of Marsala a lot with it’s jewel tone richness. When looking at the color palate it reminds me of country prim that we started seeing in the 80’s and continue to see to this day.

  3. Linnette commented //

    I love that color. Paired with pinks is awesome I think! And a touch of gold on top of that–oh my! I love it!

  4. Lineke commented //

    I like it too! Indeed with pale pink and gold. I think it would also look great with a greysh pale blue color. Is marsala and oxblood the same color? Or is marsala more pale? Cause I feel like we only had this color in fashion yesterday…. *realises she might just be getting old*

  5. Heather @ HeatherOMade commented //

    i love the color marsala. I’m already wearing a lipstick in that hue 🙂 thanks for entertaining the art history nerd in me! cheers!

  6. kristen commented //

    Really enjoying reading all of your thoughts on Marsala! Keep ’em coming!

    Heather – I don’t get many chances to talk art history these days, but when I do I’m all over it. Art history nerds unite! 😉

  7. maria f. commented //

    Well, if you put it that way…. I guess it does look kind of bloody. But it has totally gotten me into using more subdued and natural colors in card designs since I saw it. And I even wanted to change color on the links in my blog, but couldn’t find an option. They all looked too brown or red.
    A quick reflection… did “orchid” actually rule the roost last year?!?!?!?!? Let’s wait and see what “marsala” has to offer 🙂

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