Each year, the Pantone Color Institute sifts through its findings about fashion, art, and product trends and picks a color of the year: a shade that embodies the "expression of a mood and an attitude." According to the self-described "world-renowned authority on color," 2018 is shaping up to be definitively Ultra Violet.
“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination," Leatrice Eiseman, the institute's executive director, said in a statement. "It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level."
The way Pantone sees it, predicting the color that will come to define a year is an opportunity for reflection. It's a satisfying psychological tool, like a Rorschach blot, a Myers-Briggs test, or a BuzzFeed quiz.
The company's 2017 color of the year was a "fresh and zesty" shade called Greenery, chosen for its "life-affirming" quality. It's well-documented that the color of an environment affects human emotions, and in December 2016, it was clear that the world would need some soothing. Eiseman said Greenery was designed to "provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment."
For 2018, Ultra Violet is undoubtedly aspirational. It's a color that Pantone touts was used to great effect by recently lost icons like David Bowie and Prince. And as the New York Times notes, purple is what you get when you mix Republican red and the Democrat's blue—a potential nod that in a country more divided along party lines than ever, we might soon see some unity. If head-in-the-clouds aspirational is what Pantone is going for, then good old 18-3838 is spot-on.