Pantone’s 2018 Colour of the Year – Ultra Violet

Pantone 2018 Colour of the Year

Pantone’s 2018 Colour of the year Ultra Violet communicates creativity, originality, nobility, luxury and mystery, so it’s no surprise that this colour has been embraced by many in the design industry. Vibrant shades of purple are making waves in all facets of design – fashion, interiors, decor, cosmetics, product design, garden design and the list goes on.

The woman behind the Pantone colour of the year

Realising the importance and influence of this colour each year, it is given careful consideration by the colour team at Pantone. Cast your mind back to Greenery in 2017 – which inspired a re-connection to nature and even further to 2016 when two calming and stress relieving colours were chosen – Rose Quartz and Serenity.  Heading up this team is the Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute  Leatrice (Lee) Eiseman who has been there since Pantone’s first Color of the Year in 2000.

Quoted in the New York Times Lee said “We wanted to pick something that brings hope and an uplifting message.” It is a way of using colour psychology to make people feel happier and more positive.

I first got to know of Leatrice Eiseman many years ago through her wonderful books on colour. With nothing like it in South Africa at the time I teamed up with Decorex SA to bring Lee to South Africa to do a talk on Colour Trends. I was also luckily enough to attend one of her Colour Design Workshops in Burbank, California.

Leatrice Eiseman the woman behind the Pantone Colour of the Year
Image: Leatrice Eiseman –

As a fellow colour lover I have maintained contact with Lee over the years and asked her a bit more about her relationship with colour:

From a degree in psychology, to studying interior and fashion design, how did you end up specialising in the Colour Forecast business?
I have always been fascinated by color, even as a child. Anyone who has a passion for color knows it at an early age.

What do you love most about what you do – teaching, writing books, travelling, colour consulting, colour forecasting?
All of the above. I love the challenge of applying different applications of color in many forms and it is all so intriguing.

What is the most colourful place you have ever visited?
Every place I have visited reveals something about their usage of color. I must say that I was really taken with my visits to South Africa, Each of the cities I visited revealed something of the beauty and the appreciation for color that I found there, both in subtle and bolder use of color.

Cheick Diallo Design in the Pantone Colour of the Year
Furniture by Cheick Diallo –

We loved having you in South Africa, what would you say stood out for you on your visit.
I loved the availability of artisans work when I was there. Whether “on the street” or in bazaars or art galleries, there is so much in the way of really excellent applications of color.

Where do you find inspiration for your home?
I think my travels have inspired me the most. There are so many colour perspectives to explore and visiting other cultures has broadened my perspective.

Pantone Colour of the year - Ultra Violet
Kenya Sunset. Image: Andi Van Zyl

Does your family have input into the colour decisions or do they trust you to do it?
Our children are not at home any longer, so it is just my husband and myself. he has always left it to me although he jokingly tells everyone that he taught me everything I know about colour!!

In addition to your kitchen walls have you used Ultra Violet anywhere else in your home?
I love purple in artwork and have used it extensively on my sun porch and in my bedroom.

Inspired by Scandinavian Design. Pantone in partnership with

How have you achieved colour harmony throughout your home.
As I explain in one of my books: Colour for Your Every Mood, it is not always obvious as to how colours are connected, however a basic knowledge of the color wheel does help. For example, my dining room is chilli pepper red and this is linked to a long walkway that leads to my office, I chose a calming and complementary pale green that relaxes the eye afer viewing the excitement of the vibrant red.

What is your favourite Colour?
A colorist shouldn’t have a favourite color as we need to stay open to the possibilities and not get fixated on favourites.

Your books and teachings have touched many lives including mine. What in your mind is your greatest achievement?
Thank you for the thoughtful comment. As to my greatest achievement – I am not there yet!

Leatrice is the author of 10 books on colour, her most recent book is called – The Complete Color Harmony, Pantone Edition. All of her books are available online through Amazon.

Lee holds two 4 day Colour/Design classes a year – one in Bainbridge Island, Washington and the other in Burbank, California. For more information visit her website

I’ll leave you with some interior design inspiration, have a wonderful week.

Interior Design Inspiration –

In the main image there is a recycled record clock with an image of Mandela from Art Africa

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