Bleached Coral, a color of Awareness

2020 Bleached Coral Blog Color of the year 2020 News

Every year, I wait for PANTONE to announce what the color of the year will be, and I love thinking of which stones I would buy to incorporate that COLOR OF THE YEAR into my designs. However, I must say, 2020's color did not bring me that expectation or joy.

The australian design studio JACK+ HUEI proposed, earlier this year, the Bleached Coral color.

"When Pantone announced their 2019 Colour of the Year—lush, vibrant, Living Coral—we saw an opportunity to make a powerful observation on the state of the environment. This wasn’t a traditional ad, just something we put out into the world. It was such a topical event that we couldn’t sit around and wait to pitch it to Pantone, we had to make it happen on our own." (Source:

The duo came across with Pantone sample P 115-1 U, a very pale, washed out blue that perfectly matches the dead stems of the coral being affected.

Honestly, I had not dedicated the time nor effort to make my own research to understand how fragil coral reef is, despite the fact that we hear, almost every day, about the effects of climate change.

It didn't take me a lot of time to find the main reasons why coral reef is bleaching and, in a matter of seconds, understand how fragil its life is. Many other species are exposed to die too. For coral reefs around the world, time is running out, and for us.

Why is coral dying? The process of coral dying is called bleaching. As the coral begins to die, its exposed skeleton loses all color, and becomes nothing more than a glorified stone. The reason reefs are dying is human activity.

What is a healthy coral? Coral and algaes depend on each other to survive. The algae gains protection and essential nutrients from its coral host, and the corals gain photosynthetic products from the algae.

What is a stressed coral? When the symbiotic relationship becomes stressed due to increased ocean temperature or pollution, the algae leaves the coral's tissue.

What is bleached coral? It happens when coral is left bleach and becomes vulnerable when it loses its main source of food, the algae, it then turns white or very pale, and is more susceptible to disease and death. Another contributor is ocean temperature. When temperatures are high, high solar irradiance contributes to bleaching in shallow-coral waters. Increased ocean temperature caused by climate change is the leading cause of coral bleaching.

Bleached coral can recover if the temperature drops so the algae can recolonise. If not, the coral will die. Many species of fish, anemones and clams live in or near the reefs, so its survival is imperative for theirs.

A shocking 95% of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is now severely bleached, leaving the underwater wonder off Australia’s northeastern coast, in critical condition. Coral reef in Florida and around the globe has started to suffer from the same condition.

"It’s the responsibility of all of us, creative or otherwise, to find creative solutions to big problems, and right now there aren’t many problems facing humanity that are bigger than climate change." – The designers said.

The subtly inoffensive hue offers a harsh reminder for how quickly things change, with a comforting, greyscale undertone that reinforces the inevitability of time.

Do we still have the time to make things right? Let's find the way to do it right, because, even if we think there is nothing we can do, a small change and contribution helps.

Hopefully, the efforts of Jack and Huei, as well as others around the world will begin a new age for our planet. One where we value the natural beauty and wonders that we’re surrounded by each and every day. One where all life is valued and fought to be protected, instead of ignored. One where we can look at the issues we face, and overcome them together. We only have one Earth, it’s about time we started to treat it with respect.


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