Pantone and 2018’s Colour of the Year

Pantone began as a commercial printing company in the 1950s, under the name M & J Levine Advertising. In 1956, Mervin and Jesse Levine (the founders of the company) hired Lawrence Herbert who began to systemize M & J Levine Advertising’s pigments and production of coloured inks. Eventually, Herbert bought the company from the Levine Brothers and renamed the company “Pantone.”

Pantone Matching System (PMS)

After Herbert purchased the company, currently known as Pantone, he set up the Pantone Matching System. The PMS is intended to assist designers in colour matching specific colours by giving each colour (including tones and tints) a unique number. This system is frequently utilized by graphic designers and reproduction and printing houses. Since the Pantone’s colour system is extremely large, certain colours cannot be replicated with CMYK and must use a mixed amount of base pigments. It has become quite common for brands to use Pantone’s colours, as their system provides an easy way of accurately describing the colours. Many countries such as Canada, South Korea, and certain US states refer to specific Pantone colours when producing flags.

Pantone’s Colour of the Year

Every year since 2000, the Pantone Color Institute spends time studying colour trends that have occurred throughout the year in various societal influences including: fashion, marketing, and social media. By doing so, they are able to determine what colour will be declared the Color of the Year. Unsurprisingly, the chosen colour becomes quite influential in design and brand marketing. Many businesses, particularly those dealing with design, fashion, and beauty, incorporate the Color of the Year into their colour scheme for the upcoming year. Companies such as Sephora will team up with Pantone and release a line of varying products in the chosen colour, something that is quite popular with the public. In addition, Pantone offers designers, marketers, and even those who are simply interested in colour different colour palettes that will work beautifully with the Color of the Year.

2018’s Colour of the Year

Leatrice Eiseman, the Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute stated, “we are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination.” With originality in mind, Pantone declared PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet the Color of the Year for 2018. Descriptions of the colour range from complex and contemplative to mysterious and intriguing, reminiscent (or so Pantone says) of the limitless night sky. Ultra Violet is meant to embody the wonder and universe beyond Earth. According to Pantone’s website, shades of purple have been a symbol of “counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance.” PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet goes beyond convenience and conformity, encouraging people to push boundaries and express individuality.


With the 2018 colour being a stunning shade of purple, what do you think will be the Colour of the Year in 2019? If you’re curious as to what past colours have been labelled Colour of the Year, visit Pantone and take a peek for yourself!

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