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Marsala – Pantone Color of the Year: PMS 18-1438

By Kimberly Hemesath | September 21, 2015

Pantone - Marsala

When we establish a new identity or refresh an existing one, we provide our clients with brand guidelines. These guidelines are a set of rules that help to maintain the consistency and integrity of a brand over time.  Within the guidelines, we provide specs for the brand’s exact PMS colors. Pantone Matching System (PMS) is a proprietary system used universally in design, fashion and manufacturing to ensure color consistency. Pantone is the global authority on all things color. And every year, they choose a Pantone Color of the Year.

The Color of the Year for 2015, Marsala (also known as Pantone 18-1438), has been described by Pantone as a color that “enriches our minds, bodies and souls.” Once again, Pantone held their annual, super-secret meeting of representatives from several color standard groups, and they poured over research and interviews. They reflect on vast color influences including the fashion, beauty, graphic design, industrial and interior design industries. Because Pantone is an international color matching system, the color must resonate around the world. They debate on their favorites until one color is selected. Pantone then goes to work to refine the exact shade. Color studies are done to explore Marsala’s use in all mediums.


According to Pantone’s press release, Marsala is intended to “emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.” Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director at Pantone Color Institute, views Marsala as “this hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.” Its a unifying color.

Marsala has a warm, inviting nature to it, but at the same time exudes a luxury and richness that was missing from last year’s more playful color. I love how it pairs with lighter colors like blush and blue. It is great as an accent or as the star of the color palette.

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Marsala is subtle, yet elegant, both romantic and bold. Its earthiness is unmatched from previous Colors of the Year. Also unlike last year’s color, Marsala is gender neutral and appeals to both men and women.

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I love Marsala. Its stunning in every way – matte and gloss (and I’m usually never a fan of gloss), textured and smooth, prints and solids. The shade was a hit in fashion this year and popular among jewelry, accessories, and handbags. Its luxurious in leather and comfortable in cotton. I love that is combines so well with other neutrals (which make up the majority of my wardrobe). Marsala might just be my favorite colors of all time in fashion and beauty products, interior decor and, of course, company logos!

It doesn’t hurt that its also the color of wine!

You can get the Color of the Year, PMS 18-1438, by downloading it here and for more Marsala inspiration check out the dedicated Pinterest page!

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Kimberly Hemesath

Kimberly Hemesath has been on the designRoom team since 2013. She has managed our studio, now she manages pretty much every aspect of our client relationships. What does that mean? It means Kimberly cares for the day-to-day well being of designRoom clients. Without them, we are nothing. So without her, we’re in trouble. Client relationships mean everything, so Kimberly has a big job, which she performs with determination, patience, and a smile. Kimberly will guide client work from proposal through to completion, serving as a liaison between client and creative team. She will ensure everyone on the team understands exactly what a client wants — determining goals and objectives, personal and organizational preferences, needs, and budgets. Kimberly will also guide creative and planning presentations and timelines, as well as completing creative briefs. Most of all, Kimberly makes sure that all work flows smoothly from our clients, into our studio, and back to our clients, meeting every objective. A graduate of Miami University of Ohio, Kimberly earned a degree in Marketing and a minor in Psychological Pathology. She’s worked at Yelp and the Phoenix New Times. She loves chocolate (required of all dR staff), but not coffee. Which is just weird.

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