The Future Is … Purple

The Future Is … Purple

That’s an optimistic view of things. And, if the current standoff in Washington is any indication, one that seems more like wishful thinking than reality. But that, it turns out, is part of the point. At least this year.

“It’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. Not, note, “what’s going on in our world today.” Which is kind of an interesting distinction. It suggests that Pantone is not just observing and predicting, it’s going proactive.

In the past, Pantone has skewed more reflective. In 2015, for example, it took the relatively radical step of naming two colors for 2016: rose quartz and serenity, a pink and a blue, in acknowledgment of our increasingly gender-fluid world. Last year, it went for a green tone to suggest new beginnings (and quite a beginning this first Trump year has been).

But for 2018, Ms. Eiseman said, “We wanted to pick something that brings hope and an uplifting message.” This is effectively the color-psychology equivalent of the theory that says that when you make yourself smile, you feel happier. Or the “Field of Dreams” mantra: “If you build it, he will come.”

In the Pantone version, if you wear it/drink it/drive it, solutions may appear. That’s a pretty ambitious belief. Will people buy it?

Well, at this stage, a lot of us may try anything. Gird yourself. We may be in for a new kind of purple reign.

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