The verdict is in, paint it all PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet in 2018.
It’s a highly motivated choice, more so a philosophical choice, by a colour institute perhaps most widely known for its annual prophecies regarding what’s hip on the visible spectrum. Pantone isn’t just trying to sway spring runways or whims of interior design, it’s looking to shake psyches. According to Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the institute, the Color of the Year is a de facto reflection of what the world could use more of today.
What exactly is Pantone prescribing with a heaping dose of Ultra Violet? Belief in unbounded possibilities, unhindered self-expression, renewed enlightenment. Revered since ancient times, deep, encompassing purple is a colour glimpsed naturally in sunsets, rock crystals, flower petals and rainbows; it has made humanity look to the inscrutable skies, to the origins of earth with its lush pleasures and ephemeral phenomena.
Pantone’s definition invokes imagery of soul searching before a velvety blanket of stars, dreamy discoveries sure to deliver more rationality to this physical plane. Ultra Violet is embraced as the hue of unorthodoxy, of subversiveness that promotes wider cultural openness, of androgynous freedom à la Prince, Bowie and Hendrix. It’s both the intuitive spark fanning creation and an amethyst gateway to cooler, meditative states of mind.
Arcane scenes of cosmos-gazing centaurs are admittedly easy to succumb to. Though, given growing awareness of gross wealth discrepancy across the globe, it’s not terribly difficult to notice Pantone’s casual sidestepping of purple’s rich heritage as the imperial colour; swaddling emperors from cradle to coffin, only donned by the most royal and wealthiest until feudalism was through and disposable fashion had its day.
Still, Pantone’s got the gist of it. Colour’s proven to impact the unconsciousness, and the planet could indeed do with some extra truth-seeking and loftier thinking, extra acceptance and status quo-challenging artistry, extra humility in the face of metaphysical mysteries bigger than any creed.
2018’s heady shade of Ultra Violet essentially represents a visual icing of binary tensions, between red-blooded conservatives and blue-faced liberals, between baby pink and powder blue gender roles. There’s still a shot in the plum-stained dark that, reunited and muddled together under this boldly-tinted flag, everyone can live together more beautifully in the calendar years to come.