Color of the Year: Ultraviolet

Pantone released their 2018 color of the year and it's ultraviolet. How does Pantone decide on a color? And by the way, who exactly is Pantone? Oh and... what does Queen Elizabeth have to do with any of this?


This is ultraviolet Pantone’s 2018 color of the year (a lovely shade of purple- which I obviously love), the color of the year is supposed to be the color that is going to be “everywhere” during the year- and by everywhere that means in fashion, accessories, and interior design. Some of you might be familiar with this annual color choosing fest, but for those who aren't you might be wondering who exactly is Pantone and who died and made them "Queen of colors"? So, Pantone is actually a company that was founded in 1963 by an American named Lawrence Herbert he wanted to standardize colors in the print, textile, and paint industry- which makes a lot of sense.

Over the years the company has grown and today they have a color matching system and a color institute (from where the color of the year originates). The color of the year project (which is probably what they are most known for) started in the year 2000. Twice a year the company has secret meetings with different color representatives (further research is needed to learn how one becomes a color representative- but it sounds like a cool gig) and these people apparently get in a room and figure out what the color of the year is going to be- based on past colors of the year, the world's feelings/moods, and various/sundry other intangible ideas/concepts. Then, they finally settle on a color that they claim will represent the feeling of humanity for the following year.


This year they chose ultraviolet. Ultraviolet according to Pantone is supposed to allow people to take their "awareness and potential to a higher level". Sounds lovely!


What's Queen Elizabeth I got to do with it?


I’ve told you before the Queen Elizabeth I was a trendsetter and this certainly didn’t stop in the world of color. In Elizabethan times color was the domain and property of the queen and her Sumptuary laws. The Sumptuary laws were a set of law codes that established (by the sovereign and Church) who could wear what colors and fabrics based on one’s rank in society. Meaning that the higher your position in society the more luxurious fabrics and vibrant colors you got to wear. Lords and Ladies were rocking vibrant colors and furs, while peasants were dutifully wearing "Puke" (yes, you read that right keep reading for an explanation)- and muslin. In Elizabethan times colors had pretty fanciful names and here are some of my fave names: Scarlet, Crimson. Sheep’s Orange, Lions Color (perhaps the color of a lion), and my personal favorite Puke (being a mom I can imagine this color). The third pic is an Elizabethan color chart (I didn't make it- found it on Pinterest).


So here's the sum/the nugget/the take away: Pantone predicts the color of the year and then in a sort of a self fulfilling prophecy people begin wearing said color and decorating their house with said color and lo and behold said color becomes "the color of the year". And.... 500 years ago Queen Elizabeth and her laws decided the colors people could wear based on their rank in society. And, I think its fair to assume that whatever Queen Elizabeth liked became the most popular color of the year. So... I guess you could say that Queen Elizabeth was sort of the Pantone of the 16th century. What's old is new and what's new is old. Full circle.