Pantone's Color of the Year Is Trying to Be Everything for Everyone


Pantone has released their 2018 Color of the Year—Ultra Violet, a chill shade of purple that is trying to be many things to many people, all at once.

Some notes, should you want to incorporate this into your winter look: it’s a cool purple, more “blue than red,” per the AP; it speaks to “empowerment” but also “rebellion” and “the pleasing calm of Provence and its purple flower fields.” It’s a color I saw on a very fetching sweater dress at H&M on Black Friday that I nearly considered purchasing. It’s a color for the “revolution” but also for Prince, David Bowie, Rihanna, Jimi Hendrix, and yoga studios. It’s pandering to the fashion set, the music set, the wellness set, the crystal enthusiasts, and those that consult a horoscope and a natal chart before they put on a pair of shoes. In short: it’s trying to do a lot for everyone, slightly panicked, but with a smile, like a frenzied host at a party who really wants everyone to just leave, already.

According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, we have this purple because the current world is so bad that we need to look forward and out for something better.

“We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. 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. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.”

Vanessa Friedman at the New York Times wryly notes that purple is what happens when you mix blue and red—you know, like the Democrats (blue) and the Republicans(red), mixing to create a powerful new color (bi-partisan cooperation) that will eventually defeat the evil pucey-pukey-orange that colors the White House and wash everything in soothing violet light.

Purple, according to Pantone, is supposed to bring hope and inspire change. It’s also the color of royalty and Barney and Grimace. It’s doing a lot with very little. Politics. Non-conformity. Meditation. Hope. What do these things have in common? PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, baby!

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