“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,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone’s color consulting division in a statement.
Whether you love or loathe it, it will be hard to escape the reign of Ultra Violet. Determined by a cabal of color experts, the Color of the Year program is as much a trends prediction as it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Months before the announcement, the world’s most marketing-savvy color standardization company collaborates with popular brands to unleash an avalanche of products in the exact hue. Never mind if the products are particularly novel or flattering (let’s not forget Sephora’s ghastly Serenity blue lipstick of 2016), the point is to be on trend.
This year, Pantone partnered with cosmetics brand butter LONDON to formulate special edition make-up in Pantone Ultra Violet. It also worked with Saatchi Art to identify art works by color. If previous years are any indication, Ultra Violet-colored mugs, graphics, sweaters, ties, candy, chairs, hospital scrubs—a whole Pantone universe of stuff—will follow.
Starting with Cerulean in 2000, Pantone has been identifying the color of the zeitgeist. Cerulean, a steely blue gray, represented the angst of the post-Y2K era. The twin colors of 2016, Rose Quartz and Serenity, were a nod to gender equality, and last year’s Greenery was intended to lift our mood amid the dark upheavals in global politics.
“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,” according to Pantone Color Institute’s Laurie Pressman. Ultra Violet, Pantone explains, conjures mindfulness, spirituality, creativity, experimentation, and non-conformity.