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Pantone color of the Year

2018’s Pantone Color of Year was announced last December and it’s beautiful! Meet Ultra Violet, 18-3838. While having a color of the year may sound ostentatious to some, it’s amazing just how much influence Pantone’s Color Institute and Matching System has upon all types of designers, whether it is interior design, product design, or fashion.


If you’re at all familiar with the pitfalls of color translation between different production mediums like t-shirt printing, business card printing, or outdoor sign manufacturing, you’ll recognize the value of the Pantone Color Matching System.

Ultra-Violet t-shirt design

The system was established in 1963 in response to the difficulties experienced with color management in the printing industry. Colors, tints, and hues were coded by number in a fan book of swatches with the percentages of Pantone colors required to reproduce specific colors.

The Pantone Color Institute helps brands decide how to convey core concepts through the use of color. They’ve famously collaborated with Tiffany’s for Tiffany Blue and A&E Network for Bates Motel Blue. They do a lot of work in regards to market research to learn how people respond to colors and particularly how attitudes change over time. Understanding color perceptions and trends is their business.

ultra-violet dress

The first Color of the Year started at the end of 1999 as a way for the Pantone Color Institute to provide a creative compass for designers around the globe. It sheds light upon mood and sentiments discovered in their research and are meant to bring definition to these points of view.

Not surprisingly, the announcement of the Color of the Year is regarded as an impetus for creatives all over the world to produce, manufacturer, and design using this color. Pantone further inspires with the release of complimentary color palettes conceived to flatter the core color.

ultra-violet shoes

What does the Pantone Institute say in regards to the inspiration behind Ultra Violet? It’s the usher of “What is to come.” It conveys the demand for uniqueness, a depth of meaning, and luxurious spirituality. It is representative of a time and place where science and mysticism come together to fascinate and inform.

The color purple has historically been associated with royalty and exclusivity. It was derived from small mollusks that only live in a distinct area of the Mediterranean Sea and vast quantities needed to be harvested to produce even one gram of the dye. Producing shades of purple in the ancient world was exotic and exorbitant.


It was typically only worn by the very wealthy and became associated with rulers. Because ancient rules in Egypt, Rome, and Persia presented themselves as gods or anointed by God, the color likewise became connected to mysticism and spirituality.

Even into the Elizabethan era, the color was restricted to the ruling class through sumptuary laws that defined your level in society by what colors and materials could be used to create a person’s garments.

Science paved the way for all classes to garb themselves in this seductive color in the mid-19th century. A chemist discovered a synthetic compound that could be used to dye fabric opening an affordable way to commercialize the color.

The color is still known as signature for late rock and pop icons, Jimi Hendrix and Prince.


How can you use the Color of the Year in a meaningful way that’s relative to your business? Try incorporating the color within design elements of your next business t-shirts order. It can either be the focal point or appear as an accent to the overall design. Checkout some of the color palettes developed for Ultra Violet that might trigger inspiration. Be sure to add the exact Pantone code in printing notes so we can print using your specified colors.

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