Make Vibrant Presentations with Pantone’s 2019 Color: Living Coral

You probably noticed a lot of buzz at the end of last year when Pantone finally announced their 2019 Color of the Year. People rejoiced, designers jumped with excitement and memes started flowing around (read until the end to see one of our favorites 🙂 ).

You might have wondered “What is so important about picking one damn color?”

Well, for us in the design field, it turns out it really is a big deal, that is if you want to stay relevant in the game.


Also read: 23 Free Resources For Presentation Design


Pantone is the global standard for color, that’s why a Pantone color stays consistent regardless of what kind of design project you are working on, or where and how it’s being printed.

The Color of the Year is selected by the Pantone Color Institute, Pantone’s consulting division that analyzes each year’s color trends - for example, they pay attention to those that have appeared in branding efforts. Their decision sets the trends in terms of color palettes used in all types of design, from interior design to fashion to web design, and, of course, to presentation design.

Last year’s color, ultra violet, aimed to communicate originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking to point us toward the future.


pantone ultra violet

Image via Pantone


This year, they went for a color that “energizes and enlivens with a softer edge”. ‘Living coral’, aka Pantone 16-1546, has been named the color of the year by the renowned color-matching system.

Images via Pantone

Buoyant, vibrant and effervescent, this color choice, a marine lively hue with gold undertones, is predicted to dominate the design industry over the next 12 months.

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral is a vibrant, yet also mellow tone, that gives us a sense of warmth and comfort in a day and age where the only constant is that everything is changing at a high speed.

Add to the constant changing environment the more & more visible struggle of our society & world, and we can understand why there was a need to change the outlook to something a little more optimist and playful. This color engages you for more lighthearted pursuits in your design projects.

PANTONE Living Coral is a nourishing color that we can find in our surrounding environments, whether in more natural settings or in lively, everyday settings. Pantone pointed to Airbnb and Apple’s use of coral over the past few months as a sign of the color’s domination.

Color is an equalizing lens through which we experience our natural and digital realities and this is particularly true for Living Coral. With consumers craving human interaction and social connection, the humanizing and heartening qualities displayed by the convivial PANTONE Living Coral hit a responsive chord.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute 

Color is an equalizing lens through which we experience our natural and digital realities and this is particularly true for Living Coral. With consumers craving human interaction and social connection, the humanizing and heartening qualities displayed by the convivial PANTONE Living Coral hit a responsive chord.

That being said, let’s see how you can use this color in your presentations to convey a fresh & warm vibe

1. Build Color Schemes around Living Coral

The most obvious way is to use Living Coral as the main color of your presentation’s color palette and build a color scheme around it.

Now, being at least partially familiar with color theory is an important aspect of creating compelling presentations. When you select the colors for your presentation template, you want to achieve visual harmony so that the design helps convey the ideas, instead of overwhelming the audience.

There are different types of color schemes based on this theory and we can use Living Coral at the center of each of these. Use tools like Adobe’s Color Wheel or Paletton to see all the color schemes that you can build using Living Coral as the main color.

Here are some different color schemes based of Living Coral, and how they can be applied to a slide:






2. Use it as part of your Background

After settling on your preferred color scheme, it’s time to use that color in your presentations. The next thing that you can do is to use it as part of a background, and you have a lot of different ways in which you can do this.

2.1 - Solid Color Background

The easiest and most straightforward way is to use it for a solid colored background. All you have to do is just:

  1. Right Click
  2. Format Background
  3. Solid Color
  4. Add Custom Color with the RGB Code: 250-114-104 

This isn’t the lightest shade to use on a background, so make sure not to add too much content & text to your slide. This background will work best with light text that’s both big & bold and a central image, a format usually used for subtitle slides or transition slides.

Also read: Spice Up Your Reports With Visual Data

2.2 - Gradient Background

The next option is to use a variation of the solid color background to make a gradient background (gradient backgrounds and overlays are a top trend in presentation design after all).

You can either choose to make gradients with other types of colors, (preferably from the color scheme you chose) or with other shades of the tone.

2.3 - Source other graphics (images, patterns, textures)

Although the year just started, designers definitely have kept busy since we can already find a great amount of quality graphics ready to be sourced from sites like Creative Market or Envato.

If you don’t have time to make your own background design, or if you want something a bit more elaborate, check these examples out

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Powered by Creative Market

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Powered by Creative Market

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Powered by Creative Market

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Powered by Creative Market

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Powered by Creative Market


3. Apply it as a Color Treatment to Images in PowerPoint

Another option that you have when it comes to applying the Living Coral vibe to your slides is to use it as a color treatment on your images.

3.1 - The DIY approach - use it as a color overlay on images

As I mentioned before, color overlays, whether solid or gradients, are a big trend in presentation design that you can use to transform your images and give them a fresh new look.

To do this, just create a shape filled with the color (either solid or a gradient like we did before) and make the shape transparent.

Tip: I found it that it works best when you make the images B&W and increase its brightness and contrast. That is so that the picture’s original colors don’t clash with our overlay. Just make sure to play around with these settings until you find what works best.

3.2 - The DIY approach - color the images in hues of Living Coral

Another DIY approach is to color the images directly using hues & shades of the color. To do this, you simply select the image and go to format -> color -> more color variations and choose the color.

3.3 - Source approach

As we talked already above, you can source a variety of pictures that already were professionally modified and composed with the color as the anchor. For example:

Images via Adobe Stock

Layout Tip: I have to agree that these pics are beautiful and it’s a shame not to use them as full background images in some cases, but keep in mind that these work only with minimal text, bold typography, and little content. I suggest you use them as covers, section dividers or statement slides.

These are just 3 ways in which you can keep your presentations fresh and vibrant in the new year, but really there’s no limit to what you can do. With its color- of- the- year choice, Pantone aims to inspire , and to help designers make bold choices and push forward, and because of its playful nature, that is exactly what can be done with Living Coral.

Since you read this until the end, here’s our favorite meme that came out of all the end-of-the-year buzz, as promised.  It just goes to show you that color and choices are cyclical and that one fan favorite character can finally wear his shirt again with pride 😀


Credit: Netflix RO

Alright, I can already hear the haters in the back going “It’s salmon, ok?” but still a nice callback, ey? 😀

Go on and embark on this creative challenge and add a bit more playfulness and energy in your next presentation!

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There are 2 comments

By Bree | February 7, 2019 at 1:21 am

Very cool, I love this colour! I doubt I could convince the conservative men I work with to change their brand though.

By Mihai | February 11, 2019 at 11:04 am

Glad you liked it, Bree! Well, maybe it can be used in a more subtle way and it can still work 🙂

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