Color of the Year 2015

Pantone’s Color of the Year 2015 campaign is one of wistful fantasy told through a picture book story about a group of friends over the course of an evening. Designed to convey the richness of the color Marsala, each scene contains five shots, serving as chapters of the overall narrative.


Client Conversation

As part of what’s become a longstanding relationship, and following the success of Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year campaign and the award-winning Make it Brilliant product campaign, Pantone approached Sub Rosa to lead creative and production of its 2015 Color of the Year campaign.

Each year, Color of the Year presents both exciting opportunities and new challenges. Pantone’s challenge for Sub Rosa with Marsala was to tell a story, without a product, and to make it dynamic despite Marsala’s earthy, grounding color.


The launch strategy for something as intangible as a color is very much about storytelling. Unlike some of the brighter pop colors Pantone has chosen in years past, Marsala comes with warm and earthy associations. With this is mind, we wanted to create a world in which Marsala was both the visual and conceptual star, and where its essential tone and energy would drive the mood of an imagined ‘place.’ We organized the story around food, drink, cooking, and friends coming together at various stages of an evening meal. As the party moved from appetizers on the deck to dessert by the fireplace, we were able to play into varying elemental associations and feelings that Marsala evokes by appropriately adjusting the character and contents of each ‘room.’ The campaign is aimed at providing a peek into a world that lies at the sweet spot of industry and joie de vivre.

Our Work


This campaign contains three distinct sets of images that tie into the the overarching dinner-party concept:

Core: Comprising four still life images, they convey the position of Marsala on the color wheel and pair it with its complementary colors.

Campaign: Comprising five distinct shots for each scene, the images begin wide and then scale into macro shots, each highlighting different properties and applications of Marsala.
Social: One hundred additional social-media specific shots were captured featuring the multitude of details found in the richly detailed set.


Color of the Year’s global exposure has been exceptional. Overall impressions increased by more than 250% across 100 countries. Color truly is the international language.