Adobe and Pantone highlight coral bleaching

Adobe and Pantone, in partnership with coral conservation organizations, have announced their “Glowing, Glowing, Gone” campaign that highlighting the effects of rising sea temperatures on coral reefs by using colors. Prior to bleaching corals exhibit a stressed fluorescence color palette that the Adobe and Pantone team have exactly captured to illustrate the issue.

Press release

Pantone and Adobe join forces with top conservation organizations to announce the first ever collection of customized colors to inspire ocean conservation and climate action.

NEW YORK, June 3, 2019 (Ocean Week) —Today, top conservation organizations revealed “Glowing Glowing Gone,” a global campaign advocating for greater funding and action for coral reef conservation by highlighting the global danger signaled by fluorescing corals. The campaign is based around colors specially developed by the Pantone Color Institute and Adobe using new technology.

In 2016, a team from The Ocean Agency photographed one of the most spectacular and rarest sights in nature while filming the Netflix Original Documentary Chasing Coral. A coral reef situated in New Caledonia was “glowing” in incredibly rare vivid colors due to an underwater heatwave. The corals were producing brightly colored chemicals that act as sunscreen in a desperate bid to survive the fatally high water temperatures. This glowing coral phenomenon, called fluorescing, is one of the most visual indicators of the climate crisis and the existential threat to entire ecosystems such as coral reefs. However, until now, it has gone largely unnoticed.

The campaign, developed by The Ocean Agency, in collaboration with leading ocean conservation organizations including the International Coral Reef Initiative and UN Environment, seeks to garner and visually showcase popular support for coral reef conservation, especially in the lead-up to key government decision-making conferences in 2020 regarding protecting biodiversity. Adding to the recent IPBES report, the collapse of coral reefs would represent one of the greatest single losses of global biodiversity.

The future of the world’s coral reefs hangs in the balance, threatening both marine life and hundreds of millions of people who rely on them for food, livelihoods and coastal protection. We urgently need to sharpen global attention to the crisis facing corals, if we, as a global community, are to prevent the loss of one of the world’s major ecosystems,” says Gabriel Grimsditch, UN Environment coral reef expert.

The Pantone Color Institute and Adobe Color used new technology to identify the exact colors of coral fluorescence using the imagery on Adobe Stock taken by The Ocean Agency in New Caledonia and have developed a customized range of Pantone “Glowing” coral colors. The three colors, Glowing Yellow, Glowing Blue and Glowing Purple, will be used as the visual cornerstone to the long-term Glowing Glowing Gone campaign which aims to involve brands and the creative community in raising global awareness of the coral reef crisis and advocating for greater conservation action.

These Glowing colors are the ultimate visual indicator that we have reached a tipping point, not just for coral reefs, but for the planet. For the first time in human history, we are on the verge of losing a major planetary ecosystem, and only urgent global action on a local and global level will prevent this from happening,”says Richard Vevers, CEO and founder of The Ocean Agency.

The announcement of the colors comes after PANTONE 16-1546, LivingCoral was selected to be Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2019 and kicks off Pantone and Adobe’s support of “Glowing Glowing Gone”.

Top of our thinking for the selection of our Pantone Color of the Year 2019, Living Coral, was the arresting beauty we see in nature and the importance of the preservation of our environment. Living Coral is naturally exquisite, but ironically, it is the illuminating glow radiating from the dying coral that is demanding our attention. It is as if the corals are sending a color-coded SOS that says, ‘Please look at me; I need you to notice before I slip away.’ In that sense these incredibly vibrant colors could be considered the colors of the climate crisis,” says Laurie Pressman, Vice-President, Pantone Color Institute.

The Adobe Stock 2019 Visual Trend “Brand Stand” identified that brands are no longer just interested in getting involved in causes, but are now actively taking action to drive movements. These “Brand Stands” are rapidly leading to conservation action, as demonstrated by brand involvement in the ocean plastics campaign.

Adobe believes that how we perceive important issues in our culture, environment and future, starts with how creatives visually bring these topics to the public eye. Colors can become synonymous with important topics and create a connection not just in a literal sense of discussion, but also in the way brands play a part in the conversation – similarly to the way pink has become emblematic of breast cancer research support. Adobe is proud to join forces with The Ocean Agency and Pantone to promote the importance and health of our oceans and their delicate ecosystems, and of paying immediate attention to the colorful warning signs coral reefs are showing us.” Adobe Stock Senior Director of Content, Brianna Wettlaufer

The “Glowing Glowing Gone” campaign will start with a challenge for the creative community to use the new range of Glowing colors and create attention-grabbing art and designs that raise awareness of glowing corals and the warning they represent. The art and designs will be promoted to inspire global support for action and showcased at key environment decision-making events. More details of the challenge, launching June 3rd, can be found at www.glowing.org.

Credit: The Ocean Agency


Coral reefs all around the world are extremely vulnerable to ocean warming, climatic changes and ocean acidification, and they need to be protected from additional anthropogenic stressors such as pollution, overfishing and uncontrolled coastal development to give them the best chance of survival. With 93% of climate-change heat absorbed by the upper ocean, coral reefs are firmly on the frontline of the climate crisis. In the last 30 years, we’ve lost over half of the world’s live coral, and the outlook is only getting worse. Corals are a foundation species, so when they die, the whole ecosystem can collapse – an ecosystem that supports 1 billion people, 1 million species and a quarter of all ocean life and has an estimated value of $375 billion per year.

According to The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists predict we can now only save 10-30% of remaining coral reefs (those least vulnerable to the climate crisis) due to heat already in the system. To save coral reefs, there needs to be urgent targeted action and investment protecting them from other issues such as pollution and overfishing – especially the reefs that are least vulnerable to the climate crisis that have the best chance of surviving.

There is increasing awareness that when corals are subjected to prolonged heatwaves caused by the climate crisis, they often turn white and die (a process known as bleaching). Coral fluorescing, when corals ‘glow’ in vivid colors during the bleaching process, is far less well known and understood and is far less common.

Ocean warming is now the biggest environmental issue facing coral reefs. The ocean is as complex and fragile as the human body, and just a small increase in temperature leads to vital systems shutting down. Glowing corals are the indicator of system shutdown – it’s the ocean’s ultimate warning.

About Pantone + Pantone Color Institute

Pantone provides a universal language of color that enables color-critical decisions through every stage of the workflow for brands and manufacturers. More than 10 million designers and producers around the world rely on Pantone products and services to help define, communicate and control color from inspiration to realization – leveraging advanced X-Rite technology to achieve color consistency across various materials and finishes for graphics, fashion and product design. Pantone Standards feature digital and physical color specification and workflow tools. The Pantone Color Institute™ provides customized color standards, brand identity and product color consulting as well as trend forecasting inclusive of Pantone Color of the Year, Fashion Runway Color Trend Reports, color psychology and more. Pantone Professional (B2B)Licensing incorporates the Pantone Color System into different products and services, enabling licensees to communicate and reproduce approved Pantone values and improve efficiencies for their users. Pantone Lifestyle brings color and design together across apparel, home, and accessories. Learn more at www.pantone.com

About The Ocean Agency

The Ocean Agency is an unconventional nonprofit that uses the combination of creativity, technology and powerful partnerships to accelerate ocean science and conservation action. The Ocean Agency’s work has included taking Google Street View underwater, developing the most comprehensive visual survey of coral reefs ever conducted (XL Catlin Seaview Survey), revealing the coral reef crisis in the Emmy Award-winning Netflix Original Documentary Chasing Coral, and developing a global plan for targeting coral reef conservation action called 50 Reefs. www.theoceanagency.org

About UN Environment

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world. Visit unenvironment.org and twitter @unenvironment

About International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI)

ICRI is an informal partnership between nations and organizations which strives to preserve coral reefs and related ecosystems around the world. The initiative is currently jointly co-chaired by Monaco, Australia and Indonesia until mid-2020. ICRI has declared 2018 the third International Year of the Reef (IYOR). This year-long celebration was a great opportunity to come together to raise and strengthen awareness on the plight of coral reefs, and to step up and initiate conservation efforts. Visit icriforum.org and on Twitter @ICRI_coral_reef.