WGSN Trend Predictions and Pantone Colour of the Year 2018: Ultra Violet

One of the highlights of December, other than preparing for the holidays and drinking eggnog, is the arrival of the Pantone colour of the year. And 2018’s colour has just been announced, drum roll please for: Ultra Violet. “A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future,” the website states.

For our editors at WGSN the Pantone colour of the year offers another reason to celebrate, as it always confirms our colour predictions. We predicted the two 2016 colours Rose Quartz and Serenity in our SS16 Soft Pop report and we called out the 2017 colour Greenery, noting how we saw consumers shifting towards nature as an escape from turbulent times.

And now for 2018 purple will dominate, well Ultra Violet to be precise. So we asked our editors to explain how their trend report predictions called out this shade, why it’s perfect for now, and which industries we can expect to see it coming through strongest in.

Jane Monnington Boddy, Colour Director:

We originally added purple into our SS17 Colour forecast, as this season had a focus on the 1980’s, with purple being the colour that was hugely popular in the 1980’s. For 2018 we have purple in our dramatic hyper reality theme Dark Wonder. Here we picked purple for its ability to be combined with other tones such as yellows and bronzes to create some seriously modern drama. Purple over the past year and going forward into 2018 has become super modern.

Balenciaga SS18

To make it commercially successful it needs to be handled with care: a sporty modern edge brings out the best in this tone, the SS18 collection by Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga does this to perfection.

Lisa White, Head of Lifestyle & Interiors / Beauty / The Vision

Like 2017’s Greenery, Ultra Violet is a compelling combination of warm and cool, which illustrates the often opposing political, economic and social forces now clashing around the world. From a design perspective, it is a perfect colour for the maximalism we see coming through in fashion and interiors. Just think of Hamish Bowles’ amazing ultra violet walls! (Check them out in the book New York: Behind Closed Doors, just out this week and available to buy on Amazon here.)

People no longer want to be consumers, they want to be creators. Ultra Violet is an extremely creative colour, and we have seen this shade of unbridled self-expression come out in costumes, glitter and, of course, unicorns.  People are mundone–frustrated with being stuck in mundane issues—and want moments of full fantasy. Ultra Violet expresses this mood perfectly.

SHANGHAI, CHINA – MARCH 2: (CHINA OUT) Icelandic singer Bjork performs during her concert at the Shanghai International Gymnastic Center as part of the Volta Tour on March 2, 2008 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Bjork


Theresa Yee, Senior Beauty Editor  

We have been tracking purple as a important tone in beauty for some time. We highlighted purple as a key colour in our A/W17/18 Earthed: Warm Eclipse make-up forecast – which we predicted back in January 2016. Rebellious and dynamic, Ultra violet provides a bolder and more sophisticated alternative to pink and blue – it can look striking on the eyes, nails and lips delivering a tougher attitude. It is also gaining mainstream appeal amongst younger consumers – for instance we have seen the emergence of purple hair popping up on the street – and brands offering purple lipstick colours on the high-street. The colour Ultra violet also evokes a spiritual feel, which fits in line with the current holistic beauty wellness trend, which we will see continuing into 2018.

Photo credits: anitakulon.com


Make up artist Kelseyanna Fitzpatrick -@kelseyannaf/

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Sarah Housley, Senior Editor, WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors

The announcement of Ultra violet as Pantone Colour of the year comes as no surprise. The joy of this colour is that it exists on the very edge of the light spectrum, which gives it a sense of mystery and makes it a highly engaging colour to use in light installations and experience design.

In TJ O Keefe’s UV light, the projected ultraviolet light activates the colour on the nylon wire from which it hangs, creating a glow that blends between colours on the edges of the spectrum, and encouraging viewers to look deeper. When it’s illuminated, ultraviolet also becomes a very high-tech and futuristic-looking colour, tapping into the current rise of sci-fi and virtual reality.

Purple is also re-colouring the food scene. Driven by clean eating and the rise of Instagram-friendly hyper-coloured food, the naturally purple food and drink ingredients that are trending upwards include purple ube (a Filipino yam), purple cauliflower, beetroot and anthocyanin-rich purple tea.

Gemma Riberti, Senior Editor of Design & Product Development, WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors

Purple has been on interiors radar for a few seasons, and it is definitely here to stay. First highlighted at the 2015 edition of Milan Design Week, this colour is now reaching a broader audience, and the Pantone Colour of the Year pick for 2018 confirms this. The softer, red-tinged hues of the recent purples evolve in 2018 taking a bolder and more electric stand and the intensity of Royalty purple also features as one of our directional colours for A/W 18/19 (subscribers check it out here), delivering vibrant statements across interiors and hospitality.

Clashing pairings will be a key direction for colour usage in the seasons to come, as consumers feel emboldened to experiment with colour, pattern and finish as a way to deliver their personal touch. A beautiful example we have started seeing emerging at the last Heimtextil is the unexpected pairing of this vivid purple with burnt orange and bronze tints, as the metallic glint really offers a surprisingly sophisticated touch.

Ultra Violet also speaks of thoughtfulness and spirituality, tapping well into the growing fascination for mysticism and alternative practices that is driving experiences and products – from the wide-spread application of crystals to astrology-driven designs.



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