Wildfires torching California, sexual-harassment scandals toppling powerful men and a splintered political landscape — and that’s only a trickle of the headlines. It’s the sludge of earthbound news that has Pantone, the design world’s arbiter of color, looking to the night sky and the future for its 2018 color of the year.
Ultra Violet 18-3383, it is — a dramatically provocative and thoughtful shade, says Pantone.
The hue, a blue-based purple, expresses “originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking that points us toward the future,” the company said in making its annual announcement Thursday.
The Color of the Year 2018 is…PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet!https://t.co/ciwdTYqoIC— PANTONE (@pantone) December 7, 2017
“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 desire to pursue a world beyond our own,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, in the Pantone release.
NASA, the arbiter of space exploration, was on board:
We like Ultra Violet too! #DYK that we take images of space in ultraviolet? Capturing images in this light removes the distraction of normal stars like our Sun, revealing only the hottest stars and star-formation regions! https://t.co/RPhbmMAHIL pic.twitter.com/U3iw3kKEUP— NASA (@NASA) December 7, 2017
But purple isn’t just futuristic, Pantone argued. The historically royal tint has a modern reputation for ruffling polite society, a characteristic also emblematic of current political discourse.
Enigmatic purples have long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix brought tones that might have been described as ultraviolet to the forefront of Western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality.
Pantone believes its selection symbolizes experimentation and nonconformity, “spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.”
And though there is some distance on the color wheel between the 2018 pick and 2017’s Greenery, a tangy yellow-green that was a nod to healthier lifestyles and a salve for political wounds, their psychological aim isn’t all that far apart.
“Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s overstimulated world,” Pantone said, citing its use in meditation spaces.