Pantone’s Ultra Violet Looks to Shape the Future in 2018
By: Mel Quist
Pantone recently announced its annual color of the year selection. The pick for 2018 is Ultra Violet – a blue-based purple that “communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.” The Pantone Color Institute is considered the global authority and tastemaker of all things color and releases their hotly anticipated culture-defining color selections each year.
To many, an official color selection might seem inconsequential; but Pantone’s choice plays a significant role in almost every aspect of design. From marketing to fashion to interior design, it usually manages to set the trends for the year or even decade ahead. Last year’s color, Greenery, a leaf-like yellow-green shade that was said to signify rejuvenation didn’t necessarily make a big impact on the cultural zeitgeist; however, it was featured heavily on fashion week runways and in interior design.
The dual selection of Rose Quartz and Serenity in 2016 made what might be the biggest impact of any selection in Pantone’s 19 years of annual color pronouncements. Rose Quartz, a soft pink with a blush/beige tint has been dubbed the color of a generation. You have probably seen variations of what is now known as millennial pink everywhere in the last two years. The color became a social media movement and is suggested to be an optimistic escape from some of the darkness and pessimism millennials have had to face. Whether it is the rose-gold iPhone, Instagram backdrops, or Drake’s Hotline Bling, Rose Quartz is now cemented as a defining characteristic of a generation.
Ultra Violet is bold, experimental, uplifting, and gender-fluid – all qualities of past successful Pantone selections – but it’s too early to tell if it will make a sweeping cultural impact like Rose Quartz. Designers Moschino, Balenciaga, and Gucci have all featured the color in their spring 2018 fashion shows. The band Waterparks is using the color prominently on the cover of their new album and branding. We’re also starting to see it appear in various web and print materials.
As internet culture continues to permeate the mainstream and visual content becomes a new normal for receiving information, color is taking on a life of it’s own. With its mysterious qualities, edgy appeal, and versatility, don’t be surprised to see another color phenomenon in the coming months with Ultra Violet.