Guest post by Sophie Nash-Jones
It's official: Pantone's colour of the year for 2018 is Ultra Violet. 'Inventive and imaginative' this shade will 'light the way to what is yet to come' according to Pantone. With that, we take a look at the history of purple...
Since the discovery of purple in 1600 BC the colour has been associated with royalty. The use of murex obtained from a shellfish made it an extremely expensive colour to produce and it was because of this source that the colour became a symbol of status, luxury and political power. It has been said that during the Roman Empire purple was worth its weight in gold and at one time the use of the colour had been restricted by Sumptuary laws to those that ranked from the Duchess and above.
Purple, however, soon became more affordable when William Perkin, who studied at the Royal College of Science, discovered a substance that he named Mauveine. It was this discovery that enabled the use of purple to become more affordable and with it, the popularity of the tone summated.
Executive director of Pantone, Leatrice Eiseman, explains, '(ultra violet) communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking.' Of course the colour purple can mean different things to everyone; it is found in outer space, amethyst crystals, and of course represents a sense of identity to some; take Prince for example. The architect Frank Lloyd Wright would don a purple cape when he wished to be creative – and famous composer Wagner would surround himself with the colour when composing.
So with that in mind we can view Pantone’s ultra violet shade with a sense of comfort. The colour has, for many centuries, represented status and success, but also provides a sense of hope in the encouragement of creativity. So with much of the doom and gloom of 2017 behind us, perhaps 2018 will be a year of optimism and creation – a year of ultra violet.