The Pantone Colour of the Year 2018

Drum roll please… The Pantone Colour of the Year 2018 has just been announced… Presenting 18-3838 Ultra Violet!

Described by Pantone as “A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.”

Now, what does this award really mean?

Founded in 1962, Pantone was a small company that began its humble roots by manufacturing colour cards for cosmetics companies. When the company changed directions by developing the first colour matching system in 1963, the Pantone Matching System (PMS) became a standardised colour reproduction system which has since been used for over 40 years focused mainly on printing purposes in a variety of industries from design, architecture, fashion and crafts. It has certainly evolved to become one of the most reliable cornerstones for industries who seek advice on the value of colours from all around the world.

Almost 20 years ago, the branding team at Pantone created an annual award that allowed the company to put a dedicated spotlight on a chosen colour, instantly elevating it to become an iconic representative for leading industries. The process of selecting an annual “winning colour” is not always simple. Executives from the company dedicate an extensive amount of time into research, in order to provide thought and insight into what they call “proof points”, gathered from all over the world. They achieve this by visiting important events that define culture and lifestyle including car shows, fashion runways and art exhibitions, working to make sense of meaningful overlaps in order to be able to distil the mood through these creative industries and to consolidate the vibe of the times into a single colour.

Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute accurately observes that “The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.”

So, why is it that all of this is so important and how does that impact our lives as consumers?

In 2017, Pantone chose “Greenery” as the recipient of the accolade, a description that was less about the colour itself, and more of a representation of an entire spectrum of tones found in nature.

Pantone’s statement stated that “Greenery provides us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape, and symbolises the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”, and the Press Release from Pantone also included the key phrases “new beginnings” and “revive, restore, and renew,” describing the colour as a “fresh and zesty yellow-green shade”. This was widely considered to be used as a platform to focus a spotlight on climate change, with a perceived goal to encourage the healing and uniting of the world, encouraging discussion and debates on a higher level.

Aside from commercial reasons, this yearly selection might not seem to serve any direct purpose to us in the consumer world, or does it? The influence and significance of this accolade can be observed in a wide variety of sectors, from design to fashion, make-up to furnishings, all of which trickle down to a constant exposure in our everyday lives.

We might understand intrinsically that the most important aspect of colours in daily life is probably the one that is least defined and most variable. It involves aesthetics and psychological responses that ultimately influences art, fashion, commerce, and even physical and emotional sensations, so perhaps above everything else, the most important factor of this annual award works on integrating this reminder, showing us the undeniable power that has deep psychological effects on our temporary perceptions and feelings.

Have you ever noticed that our surroundings affect our emotions and subsequently, an overall state of mind? Or perhaps observed that certain spaces have the ability to put you into a highly irritated or conversely, a sublimely relaxed mood, without fully understanding why? There’s a good chance that the colours in those spaces play a significant part in contributing to how you feel. Much more than just the creation of visual stimulation, colours can alter our moods, balance our energy, triggers emotions and even connect us to nature and inspire us.

Scientists have found that actual physiological changes take place in human beings when they are exposed to certain colours. One example of the link between colour and emotion is the common perception that “warm” hues like red, orange, yellow, and brown induce excitement, cheerfulness, stimulation, and aggression while the “cold” tones of blues, greens, and greys elevate feelings of security, calm and peace.

According to Pantone, “18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.“ As a brand new year approaches, it will certainly be exciting to weigh the impact of this beautiful colour in the days to come!

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