Color Watch: Pantone Color of the Year 2015 34

Many of you have probably seen the news, but it looks like we were almost all wrong on our guesses.


Turns out the color of the year is Marsala!


As is the case every year that the color of the year isn’t a blue, the color is definitely polarizing. I know a lot of people are not enamored with it because it’s got a lot of brown in it. Or think it should be more of a focal color.

I think it’s beautiful as a fashion color, but even I know it’s going to be a tough sell for a modern quilter.


Adrianne @ On The Windy Side has already done some fabric pulls to find prints that are marsala-esque. I went to the local shop and tried to find a Kona that matched. The closest I found was Cocoa which is a little on the brown side. (Cocoa is the one in the middle next to the brown shot cotton.) Brick was too dark, Sienna was too orange, and Crimson was too red. Wine might have been a good match, but the shop was out andΒ those little swatches are just too small to really tell.


And then I spent some time coming up with some designs featuring marsala. Mostly to challenge myself to see if I could find a way to use such a brown tone in a modern way. I grabbed a random QDAD design and started playing. I ended up with this design, which uses a yellow-green complement and some warm, earthy golds and taupes to support the marsala.

I also wrote up a little triangle quilt generator a bit ago which I will probably talk about more later this week. I have a palette generation thingie I also keep meaning to talk about that takes a color and generates palettes around that color. I combined the two, set it to make palettes based on marsala and started generating triangle quilts. I loved watching the way marsala changed based on what it was paired with.







So is there hope for Marsala? I think so! And like last year, Adrianne and I will be hosting the Pantone Quilt Challenge, so get your thinking caps on! More details will be coming in January!

What are your thoughts on Marsala?


P.S. Even if you’re not into the color, head over to Pantone’s site and check out what’s really going on in those photos. Is it just me or is it the most bizarre dinner party you’ve ever seen? “Don’t mind me as I lay down on the counter. I’m just hanging out next to Marsala.”

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34 thoughts on “Color Watch: Pantone Color of the Year 2015

  • Marjorie

    Hi Anne,
    You’re right about the pics on the Pantone page…..I’ve been looking for the color that would be best for laying about on the table at parties!

    Love the Marsala! Also love the idea of your triangle quilt generator and palette generator. Are you going to make those available to the masses?

    A fan.

    • anne Post author

      Those Pantone pictures STILL crack me up!
      The various programs will be available to the masses. πŸ™‚ I’m planning a post on Wednesday to share links and caveats and what not!

    • anne Post author

      HAHAHAhahahah omg. “Quilt best suited to lay upon while lying on a table” should totally be a category.

      I’m really excited to see what people are going to come up with for the challenge this year! Marsala is definitely kicking up the challenge rating on this one!

  • Mary

    I’m one of the few who love it! I could see the possibilities from the minute I saw Marsala,,even more so after seeing your magic! Thanks Anne.

    • anne Post author

      Yay!! It seems so rare for people to be happy about the color chosen. πŸ™‚ So it makes me happy when I find someone excited about it!

  • Whiskers

    Maybe it all relates to that play they are putting together: “A Midnight Marsala Dream”? I’m seeing navy and a pale silvery-blue in the accent colors. Also a sepia washed ivory on the fireplace.

    • anne Post author

      That is the most reasonable explanation I’ve seen so far about the series of pictures. πŸ™‚ Most of the others involve a totally different kind of party. :O
      Marsala works pretty nicely with blue-greens. Fits into a more Southwest style flair.

  • Katy(LethargicLass)

    surprise surprise, but I think it is awesome! In fact, I pretty much painted parts of my living room that colour ten years ago… I’m just ahead of the game LOL! I think your first quilt combo with it is amazing. The colour reminds me of rich leather and fabulous painted toes πŸ™‚

    • anne Post author

      You are TOTALLY a trendsetter!! You’ve been telling people how awesome brown is for ages. πŸ™‚ And look, Pantone finally came around!

      I absolutely love the color as a fashion color. A slightly more-red version plays better with my skin tone, but we’re likely to see all sorts of variations on the shade in the next couple years.

  • shecanquilt

    It’s totally not my colour, and although it feels slightly less burgundy when you call it marsella, I don’t see it in my house or clothing either. I love your triangle quilts, and am looking forward to learning more about your new software.

    • anne Post author

      Given that my house has furniture from the 90s in it, I don’t think it will make it to my house either. πŸ˜‰ But I may end up with gloves or a hat or something in the color!
      I’ll make a post on Wednesday introducing the programs and the caveats and such. πŸ™‚

  • capitolaquilter

    It’s a color so I’m not gonna judge. You know better than most that I’ve got more brown in my stash than most modern quilters. It’ll be interesting to see the challenge quilts and I’m super excited that you and Adrianne are hostessing again. I can definitely get on board with marsala-esque, rolls off the tongue pretty nicely.

    • anne Post author

      Oh man, I’m ridiculously excited about the challenge. πŸ˜€ I know people are going to come up with clever ways to feature the color that I never would have considered! I actually already have some fabrics for a mini quilt using it! Although I realized I probably should have waited because I’m going to go through a few redesigns I’m sure.

    • anne Post author

      Marsala definitely fits that definition! πŸ˜€ Also, because it’s a neutral, you can have fun by making it look like different colors in different contexts. I love colors like that!

    • anne Post author

      You did better than I did in picking it! πŸ˜€ I checked out deep rose while I was at the shop, but it’s definitely more pink than marsala. It is a very pretty color, though! Personally I lean more towards the crimson side of thing because I like deep reds. πŸ™‚ My local shop should have Kona Wine in tomorrow or Wednesday, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it compares.

  • Ann D

    It seems to me that the three colors of the year could play well together…perhaps marsala as the star with coral and the gray-green in supporting roles. In checking out the dinner party at Pantone, I liked the ways marsala was used. Quite a contrast to the orchid of 2014.

    • anne Post author

      You’re right, it’s definitely different from radiant orchid! πŸ™‚ Radiant orchid felt more like a party color, and Marsala feels more like a serious color, if that makes sense.
      This is the third year in a row that Sherwin-Williams has picked a color in the same color family as Pantone. Their coral is more red-orange while marsala is more red-violet, but still not bad!
      It would definitely be interesting to see them together. I think the coral would probably steal the show since it’s the brightest, but it could be a cool combo!

  • Lynette Caulkins

    I’m just having fun watching everyone react to it. I do really, really like it as a pop in that colorway with the light blue. As the focal color, except during High Fall, it’s unappealing for my eye. But also, to me, the whole annual focus on a single color is kinda funny to start with. ;D I love color too much and need variety too strongly to stay focused on one color that long!

    • anne Post author

      I’m not gonna lie, I love the excitement and buzz during December around the color of the year! But I also totally agree, I love color too much to just focus on one for too long. With that said, the whole color of the year thing isn’t so much about “this is the only color to pay attention to” but is more about “in following the color trends, this is a color that we see trending over the next year.” Of course they also release 20 other colors (10 at spring, 10 at fall), but no one seems as into that for some reason.

  • Carrie

    I find myself rather pleasantly surprised as I’ve tended to lean toward wine colors from way back… I like browns, I like wines… I also like lots of other colors but I like deep and rich tones. They aren’t as much of a “pop” perhaps for modern designs, but I LOVE the colors. [And I like the design you worked up – easy on the eyes, not overwhelming for those with ADHD, and each color get’s it’s chance to be it’s part of the larger scheme.]

    • anne Post author

      I think you nailed it, Marsala isn’t a “pop” color for sure. It’s a well-grounded neutral that is really great at supporting other colors, but getting it to be a feature can be tricky.
      Thank you so much for the compliments on the design! I keep playing because it /is/ a challenge, and I’m enjoying finding out how to make it work. πŸ™‚

  • Shayne

    Soooo I hated it and then I saw your triangle generator and I’m excited. I’m a huge fan of your Kona and Auriful color matches I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE PALETTE GENERATOR

    • anne Post author

      Hahahaha I’m glad you’re more excited about the color now! I’m going to post more about the programs on Wednesday, along with links so you can play! It’s not super fleshed out yet, but I’ll babble all about that on Wednesday. πŸ™‚

  • Lizzie

    Whoa, I’m just flabbergasted by your palette and triangle quilt generators. Can I play too? Love the mocks ups, as this is indeed a tough sell for modern. I think you managed though.

  • jody deschenes

    LOL – everyone needs a little rest between glasses of wine! i love all of your photos – it’s people like you who lead the masses gently into accepting new/different/challenging colors – eventually we’ll all be wearing it and wondering why we were ever making icky faces at it. i love it and am looking for the perfect marsala t-shirt to wear with my beat up blue jeans!

    • anne Post author

      Those photos STILL crack me up! lol
      I am the speaker for the underdog colors. πŸ™‚ They all deserve a little time in the limelight! πŸ˜‰ I think the more reddish versions of marsala (that move more towards wine/crimson) will be more popular than the brownish versions in the quilting world. In fashion, brown is awesome! I wonder why that is?