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Pantone Colour of the Year 2018 Ultra Violet In Use

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

The 2018 Pantone colour of the year is Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple inspired by pop culture, art, individuality and the cosmos.

Every year, Pantone colour experts choose "the colour of the year" based on current cultural trends around the world. It’s a colour trend that is set to influence fashion, interior design, homeware and graphic design to name a few.

Inventive and imaginative, Ultra Violet is described by Pantone 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”.

Ultra Violet is part of a growing design trend to use bolder and brighter colours. This year we can expect to see more purple in our lives.

Purple/Violet Colour Meaning

Purple/Violet is a complex colour that has many meanings associated with it.

Depending on how you want to use it Purple/Violet can be used to convey many different messages.

Lets take a look at what Purple/Violet represents:


Purple/Violet seeks inspiration and originality through its creative pursuits.


Purple/Violet represents the future, imagination and dreams. It also represents the fantasy world and the need to escape from the practicalities of everyday life.     


Purple/Violet is unconventional, individual and unique. It stands out from the crowd and likes to do its own thing. Musical icon such as David Bowie, Prince and Jimi Hendrix brought Purple/Violet to the forefront of Western pop culture as a means of self-expression and individuality. 


Historically, Purple/Violet is often seen as having a sacred meaning. Used in prayer, meditation and mindfulness practices it assists those who seek spiritual fulfilment and the meaning of life. Purple/Violet is also an introspective colour which increases our awareness and connects us to a higher consciousness. 


Historically, Purple/Violet communicates royalty and nobility as it was a rare and expensive colour to create. It can communicate an impression of luxury, wealth and extravagance.

Although it is a trending colour it is important to think about your target audience and the meaning you wish to convey before using it in design.

Purple/Violet tends to be a colour that people either love or hate. There is also a generational division where most young people view Purple/Violet as a happy colour whereas older adults view it in a broader perspective sometimes with negative undertones.

Culturally, purple can also have different meanings; in some countries (Thailand, Brazil) purple is the colour of mourning.

Ultra Violet in Use

With Ultra Violet set as the star colour we can expect to see all shades of purples, violets popping up everywhere. Let’s see how this imaginative shade can be used across different categories.

Ultra Violet in Food

The colour of the year is going to be popular in food, literally! Purple produce such as purple fruit, purple cauliflower, purple sweet potatoes and purple carrots are the new “it” foods. Adding vibrancy to the table as well as a healthy boost of antioxidants.

Ultra Violet in Fashion

In the world of fashion, many brands have incorporated Ultra Violet in their clothing lines. Both its warm and cool tones make it a versatile colour that can work well with other shades of purple as well as numerous colour combinations. Ultra Violet can be used as a high impact pop colour or in a more subtle accent look.

Many makeup brands have also incorporated Ultra Violet in their range. With its complexities in meaning, Ultra Violet is well suited for beauty looks. Adding a vibrant colour in your makeup makes a bold statement of non conformity while softer shades adds a mystical and spiritual quality.

Ultra Violet in Innovation

In the world of apps Purple/Violet is one of the least prevalent colours. It doesn´t have the same gender neutrality as other colours and, although it has different meanings, it has often been associated with “femininity” hence a popular colour choice in the world of fashion and beauty. This perception is changing and depending on how you want to use it Purple/Violet can be used to convey many different messages.

Purple/Violet is unconventional and can add an edge of personality to help you stand out from the crowd. It can convey a feeling of magic, mystery, spirituality and opportunity for

the future.

Ultra Violet in Graphic Design & Packaging

Purple/Violet is loaded with meaning and can be used in many applications of

graphic design.

In packaging design Purple/Violet is often used as part of a series.

A contemporary and versatile colour that works well with numerous colour combinations.

Purple/Violet combined with bright colours and bold geometrics create a contemporary and artistic feel making the product immediately eye-catching.

As an “it” colour in foods, Purple/Violet can emphasise antioxidant power. Think cereals, super-berries.

Purple/Violet is a popular colour choice for children. Most young people view Purple/Violet as a happy colour adding energy and joviality to a brand.

Purple/Violet is a popular colour in the world of beauty. Linked to terms like soothing, exciting, and calm.

Ultra Violet is part of a growing design trend to use bolder and brighter colours. Combined with a bright colour palette it makes a bold statement.

Purple/Violet represents magic and mystery. In pop culture it´s unconventional, individual and adds youth and an edge of personality.

Purple/Violet represents the future, the imagination and dreams.

Colour Pairings

Ultra Violet is a versatile hue that can be paired up alongside numerous shades and colour combinations. To help us use Ultra Violet, Pantone has created eight different colour palettes together with suggested colour harmonies.

You can also download the Ultra Violet Palettes as .ase files to load into Adobe CC software however, the colours specified are for PANTONE FASHION + HOME system. For print design and web you would have to convert these swatches to CMYK, RGB or find a Pantone PMS equivalent. Check out more of Pantone´s amazing tools for designers

Purple Haze

Kindred Spirits

Drama Queen




Desert Sunset

Floral Fantasies



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