Are you unconventional, artistic, shun labels? You might be a purple.

How to Have Yourself an Ultra Violet 2018

The news is out: ‘Ultra Violet’ is the official color for 2018 according to the color experts at the Pantone Color Institute. Long fascinated with the psychology of color, this year I decided to dig deeper into the thinking that goes into Pantone’s annual proclamation, and provide a few easy ways I’ve found for software engineers — and end users — to punch up the purple in their palettes.

So why Ultra Violet? Here are some fascinating descriptors, some paraphrased, from Pantone about the power of purple:

  • originality
  • ingenuity
  • visionary thinking
  • complex and contemplative
  • the mysteries of the cosmos
  • the vast and limitless night sky
  • enigmatic
  • artistic brilliance
  • rockstar androgyny (think Bowie, Prince, Hendrix)
  • mystical/spiritual quality
  • mindfulness
  • connection

And who doesn’t want more of at least one of these in 2018? So if your New Year’s resolutions involve exploring the great cosmic mysteries, releasing your inner rock star, or instilling artistic brilliance, here are a few tools I’ve found that may help you select and coordinate colors for your next accent wall, navbar menu, or pair of socks:

Pantone’s Tools for Designers

To tap the exact color, Pantone provides an excellent designer’s resource, with all the required Ultra Violet codes, including this graphic where I found the Hex code for CSS, #5F4B8B:

Sip for Mac

For front-end engineers, Sip for Mac is a very inexpensive but powerful app (free trial then $9.99 one time purchase): Snag and save colors, then generate palettes, with a simple but persistent UI that integrates automagically with another favorite UI app, Sketch: Just click on a color to copy its Hex code to paste into your CSS (The video shows just how hard they worked to impress UI experts with their UI; It’s truly elegant).


A free single page web app that allows you to choose a basic color or set of complementary colors on a color wheel, then click through randomly-generated palettes. Similar to Sip, just click on a color swatch to copy its code. While not persistent UI, it’s free, and easy to place in your browser bookmarks or desktop as a link.

Swatches for IOS

Swatches is an easy-to-use IOS app for everyone. I can imagine Lady Gaga’s art director needs to coordinate colors for paint, screen, and fabric, and this app doesn’t silo color codes by medium. Not only can you photograph and select a color for saving and palette generation, the color swatch provides the Benjamin Moore color, along with its Pantone, Hex and RGB values. Of course you can send swatches by email, airdrop, text message, or to your favorite notes app.

A swatch from Swatches snapped from the Pantone Ultra Violet hero graphic — Benjamin Moore colors next to Hex, RGB, and Pantone values. Smart!

InVision Free UI Kits

InVision has worked hard to provide a stunning array of free mobile UI kits, one of which I recognized immediately from an app I freelanced for. Check out their DO kit for several excellent choices that incorporate the power of purple, then drop them into Sketch, Photoshop, or InVision for customization and prototyping in your next React Native, IOS, or Android app.

Like many clothing retailers, provides an easy way to shop for art by color. No need to paint the wall, just buy a print.


FLOR is a very cool flooring provider I’m surprised isn’t more popular. With eco-friendly, easy-to-fit-non-standard spaces carpet tiles, they have a stunning variety of styles that you can also shop by color. (But tip your delivery person — the boxes are heavy!)

One of FLOR’s many purple designs

Pantone’s Purple Store

Your rock star espresso machine, curated by Pantone and Amazon

And I think it’s very cool that Pantone has also curated an impressive list of general consumer products in Ultra Violet from furniture to socks, complete with product links to Amazon (not Because if you’re a purple, you will probably want to sprinkle some its magic glitter in your bathroom or kitchen.

Whether your 2018 involves Ultra Violet or not, here’s to all of us having a little more mindfulness, inspiration, and connectedness this year!

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