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story.lead_photo.caption Describing its 2018 color of the year, Pantone says, “A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet, communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.”

It would seem that Prince has been spending his time in the great beyond whispering sweet nothings into the ears of the color gods.

That has to be the reason.

Because in yet another nod to the legacy of the Purple One (and David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix) and as an acknowledgment of life’s great complexities — creativity, the cosmos, intuition, the third-eye chakra and the depth of the unknown — Pantone has chosen what it calls ultraviolet as its color of the year for 2018.

“This shade is one of nonconformity,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute in Carlstadt, N.J. “People are looking for ways to display creativity.”

The color, Eiseman says, signifies that we are getting “a little braver and bolder.”

Each year, Pantone chooses a hue that it says will inform the colors in our lives. In 1999, when the consulting firm began naming a color of the year, the focus was on clothing, beauty, and home decor.

In recent years, however, Pantone has chosen a color (sometimes colors) that goes beyond the influence of fashion and taps into the water cooler chat of the moment. As a result, the much-anticipated color of the year is now a statement of our lifestyle as well as what’s going on the world — the real, the aspirational, and the ick. For example, the 2016 colors of the year were rose quartz and serenity, hopeful shades Pantone says spoke to gender fluidity. The 2017 color was greenery, both a shout-out to nature and an attempt to steer a divided America toward peace.

It can be said that ultraviolet is a nudge to force us to stand in the now — Eiseman says it’s an uncanny coincidence that the national nonprofit Women Against Abuse uses a shade very close to ultraviolet in its awareness campaigns. Pantone’s color of the year is considered a measure of the world’s mood, but Eiseman stresses that it’s not meant as a political statement.

Instead, Eiseman points to the positive: 2018 is shaping into a year where we might find ourselves taking chances on the unknown. Creativity may be calling.

“Purple has a futuristic, exploratory aspect to it,” Eiseman says. “Purple allows us to play with the possibilities. We don’t know where we are going. But at least we are trying.”

But it’s also likely that we may have no choice but to step outside our comfort zones, because, well, winter is coming.

Pantone likes its purples.

In 2014, Pantone predicted radiant orchid, a pinker version of the hue, would serve as an “invitation to innovation” as its color of the year. In August, Pantone named a slightly deeper purple Love Symbol #2, in honor of Prince.

Ultra violet’s regal blend of red and blue doused the runways at Michael Kors, Ti-bi, and the Rows’ spring 2018 shows. It’s now the center of a “violaceous” collection of Butter London eyeliners, nail polishes, and lip colors, a collaboration between the cosmetics company and Pan-tone.

And, says Jillian Moskovitz, a consultant for Down 2 Earth Interior Design in Elkins Park, Pa., ultraviolet pillows, vases, and artwork stand out in a slate-gray space.

Pantone’s choice was heavily inspired by food. Purple yams, cauliflower, the tips of asparagus, berries, even carrots come in shades of ultraviolet. People are thinking a lot about super-foods these days, Eiseman says.

So, in 2018, look for ultraviolet to anchor graphic designs on billboards and packaging. Purple nails and purple hair will be vibrant on the streets. And Pantone has partnered with the online gallery Saatchi Art to create a limited edition of prints saturated in purple. Included in the collection of art renderings of flowers, abstract designs, and portraits of Bowie and Prince.

The great musical geniuses surely would have been proud.

Print Headline: Pantone’s 2018 color nods to creativity, Prince

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