Pantone’s 2017’s color of the year (Greenery) was supposed to inspire fresh new beginnings and didn’t exactly work the way it was expected to. This year, the company is throwing caution to the wind and going with a glam rock purple dubbed “Ultra Violet.”
Pantone vice president Laurie Pressman told the Associated Press that Ultra Violet is, “an optimistic color, an empowering color,” but also “speaks to thoughtfulness, a mystical quality, a spiritual quality.” While Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute told the New York Times that it “communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking.”
The pick doesn’t come as a complete shock… earlier this year, Pantone released Love Symbol #2, a custom color honoring the late music legend, Prince. It’s a deep hue that’s a poignant nod to his signature Yamaha piano and film, Purple Rain. Pantone even gives a nod to Prince in their announcement of Ultra Violet. “Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance,” Pantone says. “Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality.”
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 world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.
In interiors, Ultra Violet can be tricky – it’s a bit robust for big swaths across a room. However, since gray is the current go-to neutral, Ultra Violet can be a pretty accent on a gray wool sofa. We suggests using the Pantone pick in pillows, artwork or a patterned area rug.
Yes, Ultra Violet is a bit reminiscent of a highlighter. But if it worked for Prince and Bowie, it could work for the rest of us.