20 Ways To Describe Pantone’s Color Of The Year

Pantone says that Marsala is the color of chocolate, or a robust and earthy wine. For us, some other things come to mind.

Every year since 1990, the Pantone Color Institute has nominated a Color of the Year, which supposedly predicts the single hue that the design world will go nuts about for the next 12 months. Last week, the color institute chose the 25th Color of the Year: Marsala (Pantone 18-438).


What is Marsala? In its press release last week, Pantone described Marsala as a “naturally robust and earthy wine red.” And today, while sitting in on the 2015 Color of the Year webinar, I heard a Pantone representative say that Marsala was also the color of fine chocolates, exotic spices, and the fragrant loam of the fertile Earth.

Wow! Pantone certainly doesn’t seem to be at a loss for ways to describe Marsala, do they? 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, I ended up spending the rest of the webinar coming up with some other colors that Marsala reminds me of.

Here they are, in no particular order:

• The color of wine teeth.

• The color of an old Band-Aid found behind the toilet.

• The color of a drunken mall Santa’s outfit as he lies unconscious in the gutter.


• The color of the quivering heap of liver your mom won’t let you leave the table without eating.

• The color of a used maxi pad.

• The color of every single variety of Play-Doh mashed into a single tub.

• The color that comes out of you after eating too many beets.

• The color of Lindsay Lohan’s nicotine fingers.

The color of every Quake level.


• The color of a Merlot and Kahlúa-based cocktail I once came up with called the ‘Browntown.’

• The color of that scab you just can’t leave alone.

• The color of that nail you stepped on three weeks ago that you can’t pronounce any more because your jaw hurts.

• The color of an old chocolate bar after you scrape that weird white film off.

• The color of a Linux dweeb’s desktop.

• The color of that irregular mole you need to get checked.


• The color of a spice factory worker’s run-off bath water.

• The color of the mysterious cloud expanding from that grinning fat kid at the public pool.

• The color of the crust that has formed around the mouth of the ketchup bottle at the back of your fridge.

• The color of the wine your crazy uncle makes.

• The color of your 85-year-old aunt’s favorite pant suit.

Feel free to use any of these in your next press release or webinar, Pantone!