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Pretty in Pink: Seoul chooses 'sky coral' as color of 2024

Sky coral picked as city's color next year

Nov. 30, 2023 - 15:08 By Lee Jung-joo
Sky coral, the "Color of Seoul" for 2024 (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

The Seoul Metropolitan Government on Thursday chose “sky coral,” a color derived from the pink sky when the sun sets over the Han River, as the city's color next year, as part of its new annual initiative called “Color of Seoul.”

Prior to developing the Color of Seoul, the city government analyzed places frequently visited by Seoul citizens and their key interests between 2022 and 2023 based on the 2022 Seoul Survey results and the 2022 Korea Tourism Data Lab results. A 27.3 percent increase in leisure activities has been recorded since the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Han River parks were visited the most, the statistics showed.

Han River parks also had the highest number of visitors at around sundown, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. According to Naver Data Lab’s search data, the keyword “pink sunset” was searched the most during these hours in the period of June to September in 2022 and 2023.

Out of the many other colors that could be used to represent the Han River parks, the city government explained that they chose a warm color in hopes that 2024 will bring many heartwarming events. The city government surveyed 1,014 Seoul citizens and 45 color experts, asking them to rate whether they perceive the year 2023 as a cold or warm color on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 indicates a cold color and 10 indicates a warm color. In the survey, respondents rated the year 2023 as 2.5 on average, indicating a perception of a cold color. When asked about their desired color for the year 2024, most preferred warm colors, with an average score of 7.2.

The N Seoul Tower in Yongsan-gu, central Seoul, is lit up in sky coral, the "Color of Seoul" for 2024. (Seoul Metropolitan Government)

The city government also mentioned that the Color of Seoul will also be used to light up famous landmarks around the city. After sunset on Thursday, sky coral lights will light up N Seoul Tower, Lotte World Tower, Dongdaemun Design Plaza, World Cup Bridge, Seoul City Hall, Sebitseom and Seoul Botanic Park until the end of 2024.

The municipal government also collaborated with other businesses to use the Color of Seoul on their products. Noroo Paint will release the “Seoul Standard Color Book," which explains how colors can be used to deliver useful and important public information. LG Chem will collaborate with furniture designer Ha Ji-hoon to design a sky coral "soban" -- a small portable dining table -- and cosmetics brand Tohealme will introduce a new sky coral-colored lipstick.

“It is difficult to express Seoul as a single color, as the charms the city possesses are so diverse,” said Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon. “This is why we decided to come up with a ‘Color of Seoul’ that can reflect the changing lifestyle patterns and interests of Seoul citizens every year."

Meanwhile, this isn't the first time since the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the Color of Seoul. In 2008, when Oh was serving his first term as Seoul Mayor, the city government announced a set of 10 colors to represent the capital city, including Seoul Red, Seoul Orange and Seoul White. However, these colors did not garner much public attention and were only used by the city government for their own purposes.

"Back when we released the 'Symbolic Colors of Seoul' 15 years ago, there were limitations in applying the colors as they were mostly natural colors, which gave it a dull feel," said Oh during a press conference Thursday.

"We will make sure this time that the color is used not just for public purposes but also in the private sector so that the Color of Seoul can be used to represent Seoul for years to come."