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This Will Be the Color of 2015: Marsala


The hue —and name— that will set the trends in the world of design in 2015.

Every year, since 1990, the Pantone Color Institute selects a color that, according to its predictions, will reign supreme over trends —from interior, industrial and graphic design, to fashion and beauty. A few weeks ago, the institute announced the color of 2015: Marsala, a reddish brown that is somewhere between chocolate and wine red.

The words that name colors are particularly interesting because they’re an attempt to reflect through language something as abstract as a hue —a semantic game born solely from the imagination and the association of ideas. There are colors that are given a name due to their resemblance to an object, or after the person who “created” them —take Klein Blue, for example. But there are also those that carry in their name the chemical components that form them (such as the chromes) or which refer directly to a place where that color is usually used or where it somehow prevails; this is the case of 2015’s color.

The word Marsala is the name of an Italian city, located in Sicily, which is renowned for its wine production ––Marsala names the wine that is locally produced there. Hence, this color —Pantone 18-438— tells us about wine and its elegant, profound, mesmerizing hues; but it also tells us about the color of the soil where these grapes are born and end up being chromatic and taste ambassadors of their respective terroir.

In this association game, the purplish color of Marsala could be associated with a robust and aged wine, or it could remind us of luxurious dark chocolate, the color of exotic spices, the color of raw liver or blood.

Regardless of being a mere marketing strategy, “the color of the year” alludes to that human need to name things, which, regardless of the degree of abstraction of that which it names, revives some of the object’s physical qualities; in this case, it invites us to admire a warm wine red, as elegant as the word that defines it, or that perhaps contains it. As Borges asserts:

If (as affirms the Greek in the Cratylus)
the name is archetype of the thing,
in the letters of “rose” is the rose,
and all the Nile flows through the word ‘Nile’.

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