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through T-squares, proportion wheels, repro cameras, inking pens, light tables and courier services—all of which have been replaced by computers, programs and the internet.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, decor, 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
• 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 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