Why We All Need the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year 

Angie Jones T C V 1 5 | Courtesy of Pantone Color Institute
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Home & Design Editor
Updated: 11 December 2017
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Enigmatic spirit, creative mind, and reinvention. That’s what this year’s color is all about—and we’re all quite smitten.

The global authority on color, Pantone Color Institute, just announced the Color of the Year: 18-3838, Ultra Violet. It embodies exactly what we’re aiming for in 2018: imaginative thinking, challenging the status quo, and pushing boundaries. Culture Trip interviewed Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute, to find out what she had to say about this enigmatic hue.

Sgraffito I – Homage to Hiroshima
Courtesy of the Pantone Color Institute

Culture Trip (CT): So it’s finally here: the new 2018 Pantone color announcement. What makes Ultra Violet the perfect color for 2018?

Laurie Pressman (LP): We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to the Pantone Color of the Year 2018, 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity.

As consumers search for ways to explore, experiment and imagine their very own unique mark on the world, Pantone Ultra Violet, with its message of originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking points us to the future, helping us to push the boundaries through creative outlets and inspiring the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

CT: Purple has long been associated with royalty, creativity, and spiritual enlightenment. Why are these qualities important for this upcoming year?

LP: We are living in complex times…and what we have considered to be the norm [is] shifting on an almost daily basis. With these shifts, we need to look at things through a new lens. Creativity and spiritual enlightenment are a part of this.

Creativity and creative thinking is all about possibilities and opportunities; it removes the boundaries to our moving forward and coming up with new approaches. Spiritual enlightenment speaks to a deeper understanding. This could mean forming a closer relationship with ourselves, as well as connecting more closely to others. It could mean a different work/life balance. It could also imply a re-evaluation of what is important and developing a new moral code or compass to guide your life journey.

Courtesy of Pantone Color Institute

CT: How does Ultra Violet embody cultural consciousness at this time in history?

LP: The emotional aspect of color is such a large part of our decision making for the Pantone Color of the Year selection as we want to ensure that the color or colors we select are reflective of the collective mindset. With its message of inventiveness, ingenuity, originality, spirituality and visionary thinking, this intuitive blue-based purple shade embodies what consumers are looking for, what they feel they need that color can help to fulfill.

CT: I tend to associate the color purple with mysticism, but recently, the idea of space and limitlessness comes to mind—particularly as NASA embarks farther into uncharted territory with new and existing missions. Was this idea of space, interstellar travel, and undiscovered landscape part of the creative brainstorming process at all?

LP: The idea of space travel and undiscovered landscape was absolutely a part of our thought process. 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.

Alexander Jewett, Night Sea
Courtesy of the Pantone Color Institute

CT: What was the thought process for the Pantone designers/creative in coming up with this bold shade of purple?

LP: The Color of the Year selection process entails thoughtful consideration and trend analysis; and is a culmination of the macro-level color trend forecasting that the Pantone Color Institute™ conducts year-round to inform this selection as well as other professional trend forecasting products.

To arrive at the selection each year, the global team of color experts at the Pantone Color Institute comb the world looking for new color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, playstyles and socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures and effects that impact color, relevant social media platforms and even upcoming sporting events that capture worldwide attention.

CT: What’s the significance of the name in the creative brainstorming process?

The name of the color does play a role in our decision making. It’s not only the color but also the name itself that needs to capture the moment. We do not name these colors especially for the Pantone Color of the Year selection. They are named when we add them into our Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors palette. PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet was part of the original 1,001 colors we included when we introduced this color system in 1987.

Angie Jones T C V 1 5
Courtesy of Pantone Color Institute

CT: What are some ways people can use this hue in their home?

LP: Adding spice and brightness, Ultra Violet is a color that can take you in so many directions. It makes a statement in any space, whether it’s one of tradition and elegance or unexpected boldness. Whether used for a sofa, art on a wall, the wall itself, decorative accessories such as a pillow, candle, floral arrangements or in a throw, top of the table in flatware, linens or dishes, on a wall or even in cookware, in interiors, Ultra Violet can transform a room into one of extraordinary self-expression, or conversely its polish can tone down a room with subdued, modern pairings.

CT: If you could summarize the “essence” of Ultra Violet in five words, what would they be?

LP: Visionary, Intuitive, Original, Non-Conforming, Contemplative/Meditative.

Courtesy of the Pantone Color Institute

Want to know ways to update your existing décor with the new Ultra Violet Color of the Year? Check out how to get the look at home here.

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