Each year, Pantone names a color that represents, in the words of Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute, “A reflection of what’s needed in our world today.”
This year, that color is Ultra Violet.
Pantone’s website explains, “We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. It is this kind of creative inspiration that is indigenous to PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet, a blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level.”
Every designer knows that color matters.
But why is color so important, what’s significant about purple, and what does that mean for you in 2018?
Why is color so important in the world of design?
Color matters because of the emotional impact it creates.
For example, red can evoke either feelings of love or aggression. Orange is a playful color, while green implies nature. When presented together in a palette, colors can evoke feelings of ease or trust, excitement or exclusivity.
Because color is so powerful in evoking emotion, it is essential that you choose each color in your brand’s color palette with intention. How do you want your potential customers to feel? That question should guide all of your decisions about your brand’s colors.
The emotional impact of purple
Purple can be associated with royalty, creativity, or even the mysteries of outer space. In naming Ultra Violet, a shade of purple, their color of the year, Pantone wants us to look past our own limitations and preconceptions and to use our imaginations this year. In this divided time, they are asking us to widen our lens and look at the big picture.
Companies use colors to help their customers instantly recognize their brands
Many of the most iconic companies have mastered the use of colors in their branding. For example, it’s impossible to mistake the Target red for any other color. (In fact, they’ve trademarked their shade of red, so no other company can use it.)
The instant you drive by a McDonalds, you know it — both because of the arches, but also because of the mustard yellow associated with the brand. And what about the green shade in the Starbucks logo? It’s nearly impossible to miss.
All of these companies have used color to help their brand stand out from other companies, and they chose colors that also made an emotional impact on their customers. The Target red implies action, while the McDonalds yellow signifies cheerfulness, a feeling they want their customers to have while they’re enjoying their Big Macs. The Starbucks green, on the other hand, indicates growth and hope.
Brands with purple logos
A number of famous brands use purple in their logos.
Cadbury chocolates employs purple as one of their primary brand colors, pointing to the decadence of their creamy chocolates.
Yahoo’s bright purple sets it apart from the multicolored Google. Ironically, the company chose purple as their color after the “gray” paint they bought for their office, when dried, turned a shade of lavender.
Another famous company with a purple logo is FedEx. The popular shipping company takes their connection with purple a step further with their Purple Promise, which reads, “I will make every FedEx experience outstanding.”
Colors subtly share your values with your customers
What values do you want your customers to associate with your brand?
In some ways, your brand colors are more powerful than even your website or product copy, because even if a potential customer doesn’t bother to read your copy, they will see your brand colors at a glance.
Knowing color meanings will greatly aid you in choosing a palette that conveys the emotions and values you want associated with your brand.
Values and Ultra Violet
In naming Ultra Violet the color of the year in 2018, Pantone is signaling their values to the design world. Some of the values mentioned in their article about the color are “counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance, “a mystical, spiritual quality,” and “discoveries beyond where we are now.”
Make 2018 an Ultra Violet year
Even if your brand doesn’t use any shade of purple in your branding, you can follow Pantone’s lead and embrace Ultra Violet in the coming year.
Ways to bring Ultra Violet into your year
- Start a creative project
- Think outside the box
- Go star-gazing
- Reach out to someone different than you
- Explore new technology
- Get reflective and start a mindfulness practice
Ultimately, by naming Ultra Violet as the color of the year, Pantone is inviting us to open up and to explore new possibilities. I for one will be accepting that invitation.
Are you looking for a designer to design a color palette that perfectly conveys the emotions and values of your brand? I can help.