Every December, Pantone declares the color to expect to see hidden in plain sight. Last year, that color was a lovely, warm olive green – symbolizing the thoughtfulness that the new year would bring forth. Bring forth it did in spades. This year, we’re in a galaxy far, far from green.
The Color of the Year is one moment in time that provides strategic direction for the world of trend and design.
Now, a lovely shade of green had no actual embodiment of 2017. It had no bearing on an entire calendar year, let alone an individual’s thoughts and choices, so why do we care? Pantone spends hours, days, and months making this decision. Collecting data from runway fabrics to paper goods to forecast a color that represents a year-long future.
“The Color of the Year is one moment in time that provides strategic direction for the world of trend and design.” [Pantone.com]
For 2018, Pantone has chosen a bright, UltraViolet. A color that has more depth and mystery than Agatha Christie could muster.
Okay, maybe not quite that mysterious, but most could agree that violet is complex color.
From ancient royals to the one and only Prince, purple hues have a rich history. It’s a color that feels velvety and unworthy, but when you embrace it you rule a kingdom. In a time where complex doesn’t even begin to cover the world we live in, having a vibrant and hopeful color popping up in all realms of the design world is something we subconsciously need.
“Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.” [Pantone.com]
As a designer, it’s easy to rationalize why Pantone is important. There was a scene in the 2006 cinematic classic, The Devil Wears Prada, that always comes to mind. Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep) calmly tears Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) to shreds over a snicker about two teal belts being the same shade of aquamarine. Her Cerulean blue sweater nearly unravels before your eyes while Miranda schools her on the hierarchy of modern fashion. How a color choice in a Paris runway can trickle down over the course of a year and end up in a bargain store’s window, convincing a wider market it’s “the” color of the season. To certain markets, all 100 million colors the average human can see have their own place in the world… and a Pantone identification number.
As a non-designer, does The Color of the Year actually affect your life?
Maybe not directly, but it should definitely give you pause for thought. A complex, future-thinking color like UltraViolet has just as much cultural impact as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Maybe not as polarizing, but still representative of today’s social climate.
Remember Hillary Clinton’s concession speech many moons ago?
She chose a violet and charcoal gray suit by Ralph Lauren. When asked why she chose to break the patriotic palette that was so prominent the entire campaign, she explained, “The morning after the election, Bill and I both wore purple. It was a nod to bipartisanship (blue plus red equals purple).”
Purple has the uncanny ability to build community and inspire.
“It’s really about thought leadership–talking about color and understanding the role color plays in the culture. We’re not selling a paint or a fabric; we’re looking at the macro world.” – Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute
Violet hues have a strong psychological background. From the crown chakra that controls the nervous system, the brain, and is representative of pure thought, to the color’s use in poker, distinguishing the highest value poker chip. Purples are a valiant mix of red’s stimulating powers with blue’s calming quality. It’s the undertone that matters most, as a color such as purple takes on its most lasting psychological effects from its grounding color. Lucky for us, Pantone’s UltraViolet has a strong grounding in blue. Blue brings a calmness and a sense of direction for the coming year.
May purple evoke change in you this year.
May it inspire a little more creativity.
May it have the power to bring a smile to your face when you catch it in a shop window.
After all, a man made purple his entire identity and he’ll be in history books forever.