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January 2018

Pantone’s Color of the Year: Ultra Violet

        In 2017, Pantone’s Color of the Year, Greenery was a fresh, invigorating shade of green that reflected new beginnings surrounding the political turmoil of the 2016 Presidential Election. 2018’s Ultra Violet wasn’t chosen for its representation of power and wealth, but was selected to evoke a counterculture flair, a grab for originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking.   The color violet has been associated with royalty, power, and wealth for centuries. It’s elite status stems from the rarity and the extraordinary expense of dying fabric purple. Since only wealthy rulers could afford to buy and wear the color, it also became associated with individuality, uniqueness, and originality. Today, purple is still regarded as a bit of an “ooh” color. Purple’s rarity in nature and the expense of creating the color and has given purple a supernatural aura for centuries. Perhaps because of its heritage, it has never been a mainstream choice, which is Pantone’s reasoning for it being the 2018 Color of the Year.   Ultra Violet is one of the more complex colors because it is a combination of two shades that are seemingly polar opposites – blue and red – and brings them together to create something new. It also escapes some of the easy descriptions of other colors – red is hot, blue is cool… but what is the quality of purple, exactly? In our current political climate, where red is linked with Republicans and blue with Democrats, purple is periodically identified as a symbol of bipartisanship — or, in the case of swing states, as a signifier of uncertain affiliation. Pantone hopes the blue and red, the colors used to designate America’s liberal and conservative politics, can become a more harmonious purple. Violet speaks to a global audience, not the left (red) or the right (blue), but everyone. Recall the Ralph Lauren ensemble that Hillary Clinton wore to deliver her official concession speech following the 2016 election: a slate grey suit, with a deep purple silk blouse and matching lapels. Clinton later explained the significance of the color in her book What Happened, writing “The morning after the election, Bill and I both wore purple. It was...

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