Marsala is a style of wine that originated in the Marsala region of Sicily, in Italy. You may recognize it from delicious dishes such as chicken Marsala. Now, take that plate of food, and throw it on the wall, or the couch, or your clothes. This is what Pantone's newest color of the year asks us to do! Their newly chosen color, Marsala, is a dark and muted red, bordering on brown, inspired by the wine of the same name. In contrast to colors of the year from Pantone in previous years, there has been a lot of doubt about this color. There are many unsavory things that it is reminding people of, some of which we will not be repeating on this blog, but can be read in this scathing article by The Atlantic.
Pantone was aiming for a color that embodied a full, hearty meal, and also possessed a rich earthiness. Once you get past the previously mentioned unsavory connotations, it is definitely easy to see that this color invokes thoughts of rich food and fine wine that will fill you right up. I think that when most people think of chicken Marsala they think of a fairly nice Italian meal, so this color really embodies the elegance and rustic charm that Pantone seems to be going for.
They also claim that Marsala is a bold and exciting color. While bold is maybe a word used to describe wine, "exciting" is not something that comes to mind. Nor is it what comes to mind when one thinks of rust, brick, or anything else that various critics have pointed out the color of the year reminds them of.
In defense of the color, I do have to say there are some good uses for it. While painting an entire room or wall this color may be a little extreme, adding an accent pillow, flower pot, or drapes in Marsala could add a touch of subdued color and elegance to a space.
Even Pantone's own promotional images for the announcement do not show anything as intense as an entire wall painted Marsala. The largest object of the color (unless you count the brick wall in the background) is a small sofa, layered with pillows of other colors. So, like Pantone subtly seems to suggest, we also recommend using Marsala as an accent color rather than the main color of a room.
However, taste in color is entirely subjective and there may even be someone out there who doesn't like GHID's orange and gray color scheme (but we have yet to find them!). Let us hear your thoughts on Marsala, now that you have heard about the good, the bad, and in some cases, the ugly.