Purple is a great color and back in 2018 saw it reign most popular
January 10, 2018
Women took ownership of purple back in 2018: Violet was Pantone Color of the Year
A passionate purple hue topped color palettes back in 2018, complementing the International Women’s Day color, which highlights feminism and international efforts to achieve wide-scale gender parity.
Color trendsetter Pantone selected “ultra-violet” as its 19th “Color of the Year” to communicate “originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking that points us towards the future.”
Purple is historically associated with efforts to achieve gender equality. In this context it was first used alongside green and white as the colors of the Women’s Social and Political Union, the organisation that led Britain’s women’s suffrage movement in the early 20th century.
For suffragettes fighting for the right to vote, purple represented “the royal blood that flows in the veins of every suffragette,” according to the book Women's Suffrage Memorabilia: An Illustrated Historical Study by Kenneth Florey. White represented purity and green represented hope.
In the 1960s and 1970s, use of the color was revived by feminists to represent the Women’s Liberation movement as a tribute to the suffragettes.
Escalating empowerment of women
Fast forward to the present and the color was a fitting follow up the knitted pink “pussy” hats that dominated demonstrations around the world protesting against discrimination.
Gender-based workplace harassment took center stage as men and women spoke out about long-simmering workplace injustices. The #MeToo social media hashtag was used extensively worldwide to draw attention to these issues online.
Undoubtedly, the fallout from lawsuits filed to bring workplace harassers to justice and further revelations about discriminatory practices will continue to unfold for years to come.
Purple inspires hope and vision
“From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive ultra violet lights the way to what is yet to come,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a statement.
“Complex and contemplative, ultra violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.”
Purple is also associated with counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance, including musicians Prince for the song “Purple Rain” and Jimi Hendrix for “Purple Haze,” according to Pantone.
The significance of the color to the women’s movement was crystallized in The Color Purple (Harcourt 1982) a ground breaking book by American author Alice Walker, which famously mapped out discriminatory practices against African-American women in the southern United States in the 1930s.
Walker became the first woman of color Pulitzer Prize laureate when the book won the award in 1983. Television talk show host Oprah Winfrey and actor Whoopi Goldberg starred in a 1985 film based on the book directed by Steven Spielberg.
Throughout history, the color has featured prominently in artistic representations of women, including an 18th century portrait of Russian Empress Catherine the Great by Fyodor Rokotov.
Now widely associated with contemporary feminism, the color purple symbolises achievements gained and achievements yet to come.