Pantone launch Colour of the Year 2018 “Ultra-Violet”: What will this mean for the home and interiors market?

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Pantone launch Colour of the Year 2018 “Ultra-Violet”: What will this mean for the home and interiors market?
1Pantone Colour of the Year 2018. Image courtesy of Pantone

It’s official!  Pantone has launched their Colour of the Year 2018 and its UltraViolet. The colour is brave and bold and its purpose is to remind us that 2018 is a time for artistic freedom of expression and discovery.

As with every year, there have been mixed reviews about the colour choice.  Past colours have included the popular ‘Greenery’ of 2017 which saw green, back in the forefront in a variety of shades and an influx of leafy prints and indoor plantlife. When ‘Greenery’ launched we recall an intake of breath at such a vivid colour choice but the majority have embraced the shade and the market since has been awash with lush leafy tones.  Prior to that, in 2016, for the first time, two shades – Rose Quartz and Serenity were chosen as the Color of the Year.  Serenity almost went un-noticed but Rose Quartz perhaps made way for one of the most popular colours often termed ‘Millenial Pink”

The Pantone team describe the colour as “A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, Pantone 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future”. So what are our thoughts on the colour and what effect is this announcement likely to have on the homewares market and Interiors?

Image: Hillary Clinton concession speech: Getty Images
Image: Hillary Clinton concession speech: Getty Images
Image: Suffragette film Official UK poster
Image: Suffragette film Official UK poster

Purple, a colour made from the combination of red and blue.  This perhaps the greatest symbolism of the colour of 2018.  Purple is a symbol of integration, co-operation and bipartisanship.  It was likely to be no mistake that this colour was included in Hillary Clinton’s outfit of choice as she delivered her concession speech in November last year.  It too is a colour worn by the suffragettes and stood for loyalty and dignity.  Purple is often described as a colour of strength and in a year where thousands of people have taken to the streets to stand up for gender equality, the appointment of the first female Archbishop of London, not to mention a marketplace full of feminist slogan ‘strong girl’ t-shirts – the Pantone of the year for 2018 is likely to hold many positive female references too.

Image: Angie Jones for Saatchi Art x Pantone
Image: Angie Jones for Saatchi Art x Pantone
Image: Angie Jones for Saatchi Art x Pantone
Image: Angie Jones for Saatchi Art x Pantone
Image: Sandra Semburg from Vogue Paris
Image: Sandra Semburg from Vogue Paris

Discussing the connection between Ultra Violet and the music industry  Pantone say “Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets”.  Above are two images of designs created by Angie Jones for the collaboration between the Saaatchi Gallery and Pantone.

Image: Carolina Herrera SS18 via Fashionotography
Image: Carolina Herrera SS18 via Fashionotography
Image: Gucci Milan SS18 Getty Images
Image: Gucci Milan SS18 Getty Images
Image: Prada shirt from Net a Porter
Image: Prada shirt from Net a Porter
Image: Sweater with draped sleeves Zara
Image: Sweater with draped sleeves Zara

Ultra Violet has already begun filtering into the fashion world. We spotted small snippets of it on many of the SS18 runways as well a few highlights, already on the high street.  Block colour so far has been the main use however we have seen some examples with highlight contrast colour as well as elements of floral pattern.

Image: Heimtextil 2017/18 trend - Virtual Exploration
Image: Heimtextil 2017/18 trend - Virtual Exploration
Image: Ciaochessa via Pinterest
Image: Ciaochessa via Pinterest

Looking back to Heimtextil 2016, the leading International trade fair for the textiles market, we were presented with a collection entitled ‘Virtual Explorations’.  The team responsible for delivering the ‘Theme Park’ trends, Carlin International, discussed how the “Digital processes enable a new interpretation of transparency”.  The ‘Virtual Explorations’ collection included subtle tones of vivid purple and combinations of colour where purple plays a vital part. Carlin stated “Thanks to a mother-of-pearl-like shimmer, fabric is brought to life in a vibrant way. Films and silk are reminiscent of reflections in water thanks to dazzling holographic brilliance. Extravagant floral patterns, embroidery, jacquards and lace dominate and give rise to astonishing fascination. A new form of digital exoticism is born. Structures from cell organisms inspire and convey a new understanding of 3D. Organic-animal structures give technical materials a sensuous-poetic flexibility. Colours are lively and reminiscent of water.”

Purple is likely to feature heavily in the Wedding industry in 2018 due to the variety of flower species available and the increasing importance in the fashion industry.  Purple is thought of as enchanting, magical and regal and so is likely to continue to be one of the most important Wedding colours of all time.

Image: Tokyo Dome on Random Wire
Image: Tokyo Dome on Random Wire
Image: via Pinterest
Image: via Pinterest
Image: via Pinterest
Image: via Pinterest
Image: Normann Copenhagen
Image: Normann Copenhagen
Image: Nina Struve from Livingathome.de
Image: Ligne Roset

We have already begun to see references to space, stars and the world of science hit the fashion and homewares market.  The launch of UltraViolet as Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2018 is only likely to increase this focus and direction for pattern.  Pantone stated at launch “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,” they add. “The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.”

Neon is growing in popularity and image such as these really allow the colour to be used to its full effect.  Combinations of Ultra Violet and monochrome used alongside contemporary references such as typography and graphic pattern are likely to be important.

Purple is also a very versatile colour and sits well with other shades of the colour spectrum. Above you can see how great it looks when combined with more muted tones and even grey.  Ultra-violet comes into its own as a reference for all things mystical and magical when combined with blue and turquoise tones.  With green as a partner, Ultraviolet communicates images of nature and the environment and allows for a strong use of landscapes.  Alternatively UltraViolet also demands attention when used with its relative colour, red. This colour combination is rarely seen but against a backdrop of ultraviolet, red and magenta really come alive.

We’d love to know your thoughts on UltraViolet.  Are you planning to use this colour as a result of the Pantone launch?

Please comment below!

2 Comments

  • Amy January 1, 2018 11:27 am

    Great article

  • Jemma Cox January 21, 2018 2:12 pm

    I thought I would really struggle with this colour but yesterday I realised that I added a pop of this vibrant purple in a brides bouquet. It worked and to my surprise I loved it. We will see what the rest of the year brings. I’m still a little unsure but interested particularly what it means for the interior world.

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