Pantone—the one constant in my career

Throughout my design career I’ve gone through T-squares, pro­por­tion wheels, repro cam­eras, ink­ing pens, light tables and couri­er services—all of which have been replaced by com­put­ers, pro­grams and the inter­net. But one thing that has been con­stant, and still in the same swatch­book form as fifty years ago, is the invalu­able Pantone col­or match­ing sys­tem. Back then it was the only way to guar­an­tee col­or con­sis­ten­cy from draw­ing board to press. Today it serves the same exact pur­pose, in the same exact way, with the addi­tion of exten­sive tools and sys­tems for elec­tron­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Just like the con­sis­ten­cy of col­or from one medi­um to the next, even Pantone’s logo and brand iden­ti­ty has remained con­sis­tent and con­tem­po­rary.

Pantone Color of the Year 2018: Ultra Violet 18–3838

A seem­ing­ly nat­ur­al pro­gres­sion from Pantone Color of the Year 2017, Greenery 15–0343, is Pantone Color of the Year 2018: Ultra Violet 18–3838. Greenery was earthy, where­as Ultra Violet is ethe­re­al.

According to the spec­tac­u­lar webi­nar pre­sent­ed by Laurie Pressman, vice pres­i­dent of Pantone Color Institute, announc­ing the Pantone Color of the Year 2018:

Complex and con­tem­pla­tive, Ultra Violet sug­gests the mys­ter­ies of the cos­mos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the dis­cov­er­ies beyond where we are now…

Provocative and thought­ful, Ultra Violet com­mu­ni­cates the orig­i­nal­i­ty, inge­nu­ity, and vision­ary think­ing that cre­ates a mean­ing­ful direc­tion to our future…

From explor­ing new tech­nolo­gies and the greater galaxy, to artis­tic expres­sion and spir­i­tu­al reflec­tion, intu­itive Ultra Violet lights the way for what is yet to come.”

According to Ms. Pressman, the Pantone Color of the Year is cho­sen not on a whim or by anyone’s “favorite col­or.” It is based on pop­u­lar trends among sev­er­al industries—fashion, décor, auto­mo­tive, pack­ag­ing, adver­tis­ing and art—and deter­mined through inten­sive ana­lyza­tion and fore­sight.

Cosmos to Cauliflower

purple fruits & vegetables

While Pantone Ultra Violet con­jures spir­its, intrigue and the mys­ter­ies of the uni­verse, it also rep­re­sents health and well­ness. According to experts such as Lakshmi Vandrapu,  pro­tect your brain’s health with a diverse range of pro­duce from this col­or fam­i­ly:
Black cur­rants
Purple sweet pota­toes

I have seen oth­er fruits and veg­eta­bles in shades of pur­ple, such as cau­li­flower, aspara­gus and cab­bage. Cookies, ice cream and vod­ka too, but they’re not quite as healthy.

Purple Peanut Butter

I’ve nev­er cared much for grape jel­ly nor peanut but­ter and jel­ly sand­wich­es. But what real­ly grossed me out was when they mixed the two togeth­er in a sin­gle jar. One brand at least made it look some­what appealing—layers of pur­ple and brown, like a par­fait. But one cheapo gener­ic brand mixed it all togeth­er and the result was the most dis­gust­ing col­or for human con­sump­tion I’ve ever seen.

Maybe that’s why pur­ple has nev­er been my favorite col­or (same goes for brown). But that doesn’t mean I don’t design with it. When com­bined with oth­er colors—as a back­drop, the main sub­ject, or as an accent—it has brought to life con­cep­tu­al ren­der­ings, fol­lowed by final pro­duc­tion, that no oth­er col­or could have achieved. Purples and vio­lets, which are made up of blue and red (or cyan and magen­ta) can be warm, cool, or neu­tral. Pantone Ultra Violet appears neu­tral.

Purple Trivia

Here are a few facts about pur­ple. Discover lots more at sen​sa​tion​al​col​or​.com
• Purple was the col­or of the first dye made by man

• Purple is the col­or of the high­est denom­i­na­tion pok­er chip, $5,000
• Purple is the favorite col­or of ado­les­cent girls

Pantone Ultra Violet 18–3838

Interestingly, ultra vio­let light (not the col­or name) can­not be seen by the human eye. Also known as “black light,” it excites the phos­pho­rs in flu­o­res­cent paints and mate­ri­als, caus­ing them to glow in total dark­ness. Many fish and flow­ers have this prop­er­ty. But the light source itself is invis­i­ble.

Visible or not, Ultra Violet is a super cool name for the Pantone Color of the Year 2018.

You’ll see many fas­ci­nat­ing appli­ca­tions, as well as inspir­ing col­or palettes, for Pantone Ultra Violet 18–3838 at the Pantone web­site.


Visit Pantone​.com for mag­i­cal and mys­ti­cal col­or insights.


Produce: Lakschmi Vandrapu
Spec chart: Pantone   
Purple facts: Kate Smith, Sensational Color

AmperArt.comThe image for this arti­cle is adapt­ed from AmperArt #118 Magical & Mystical. AmperArt is Chaz DeSimone’s per­son­al design project fea­tur­ing the fun & fab­u­lous amper­sand. A new cre­ation is issued every month, suit­able for print­ing & fram­ing. Visit & get on the list at AmperArt​.com

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