Pantone.com

Today, Pantone, a company that does color stuff, made its annual announcement identifying a single color on the spectrum that it feels best captures the “zeitgeist” of today. Last year, its choice of “Greenery” was criticized for its resemblance to vomit, a true testament to Pantone’s prescience seeing how this year has gone.

This year the color Pantone has bestowed upon us is Ultraviolet. It’s supposedly a color that evokes soothing introspection and deep primordial mystery, chosen to bring “hope and an uplifting message.” Via the New York Times:

It “communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said by way of explanation.

“It’s also the most complex of all colors,” she said, “because it takes two shades that are seemingly diametrically opposed — blue and red — and brings them together to create something new.”

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Subtle. While the choice may be all about serenity, unity, and compromise in our broken political system, Pantone’s big reveal came at exactly the worst time, because purple is now also the color of utter and dire emergency.

Southern California is currently dealing with extremely violent and apocalyptic wildfires. The fires are so bad, in fact, that they have surpassed the current color-coded system authorities of yellow, orange, and red that authorities use to grade them. So they had to find a new color, and guess what they went with?

Via Time (emphasis mine):

“The forecast for tomorrow is purple,” said Ken Pimlott, director at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. “We’ve never used purple before.”

[...]

“We’re talking winds that can surface that can be 80 miles an hour,” Pimlott said. “These will be winds that there will no ability to fight fires.”

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Once again, it seems Pantone got it right by accident.