Why should I care about the color of the year?

Pantone just announced their 2018 Color of the Year is Ultra Violet.

So what?

It’s not like they’ve discovered a new color. I had Ultra Violet as an option in my big pack of crayons when I was in preschool.  Not to mention the billions of years that Mother Nature held the monopoly on this particular hue.

It’s not like companies around the world are going to scrap or revamp their brand guidelines to incorporate Ultra Violet. Designers likely won’t push to use this until-so-recently commonplace shade into projects just because Pantone tacked on a bunch of inspirational adjectives.

Then why? Why is it important to champion one color over another?

Selecting the Color of the Year

Pantone is widely regarded as the world’s foremost authority on color, and their color-matching system is seemingly ubiquitous. Since the turn of the century, their color experts have annually selected a color that represents the perceived zeitgeist, while factoring in prominent design trends. A trained cynic would point out that this type of selection is about as quantifiable as the Applause-O-Meter, and that the Color of the Year is nothing more than a marketing stunt to maintain relevance. However, I believe there is more at stake here.

The color of the year may be arbitrarily selected and then assigned some flowery descriptors, but its function is far more powerful.

Changing color perception

Color has a tendency to fade into the background of our lives, despite the obvious influence the entire spectrum holds over our mood and identity.  In bringing one color to the fore, Pantone reignites our awareness of all colors and the role they play in shaping our perception of the world.

Take this opportunity to join the conversation. Talk to someone about how Ultra Violet, or any color makes you feel. What memories do you associate with yellow, where does pink end and red begin and what is your favorite shade of black?

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