What the Pantone colour of the year means for design-led comms in 2018
As Pantone announces its colour of the year – Ultra Violet – Spurwing’s design team considers the power of colour in building brands, and how design-led communications influences behaviour.
“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. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.”
– Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of Pantone Colour Institute
Since 1999, the Pantone Colour Institute has annually selected its “colour of the year”. The announcement is always widely anticipated by the creative community and is a telling indication of current design trends and cultural moods.
2018’s choice of “Ultra Violet” resembles the cosmos and faraway galaxies, suggesting curiosity in what lies ahead and a great, abstract power. In the design world, purple is used to inspire and influence, and from a colour theory perspective it represents spirituality, power, dignity, royalty and creativity. Music icons such as Prince, David Bowe and Jimi Hendrix have drawn upon the colour to express themselves and spark individuality in entire generations.
Why colour matters for branding and campaigns
Visual communications are a powerful tool in shaping brands and giving meaning to an organisation’s values. Choosing colour for design is highly subjective, but also highly technical. Colour theory is as much a science as it is art, and colours can have the power to influence the mood, emotions and impressions that a campaign or brand can generate.
Working with clients to make the right colour choices can be hard, and designers should go beyond personal preference.
The challenge is to get the balance right and create an attractive and effective design. At Spurwing, we typically start by selecting several classic colours before delving into primary and secondary colours to determine which shade is best suited for the brand or campaign. Colours can then be paired to see if they work together or not.
At the end of last year, we updated our own colour palette and branding to reflect where Spurwing is heading for the future.
The bright green was chosen to indicate growth and fresh thinking. This colour relates to stability, renewal and nature, which is aligned with our strong roots in the nutrition and healthcare sectors. It has the same calming attributes as blue – a conventional colour used by the healthcare industry – balanced by the energy of yellow.
The introduction of purple was a bold choice and links with one of our core values, drive, through the colour’s association with power and ambition. Purple also creates a sense of energy by taking on the characteristics of both blue and red.
This year’s Pantone colour of the year points us towards the future. It acts as a calling for the creative community to demonstrate bold thinking and originality when developing design-led communications, and a reminder of our ability to influence how a brand can be perceived for the better.