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Creative Ways to Use the Color of the Year in your Social Media Posts

Every year, Pantone releases a color of the year, and social media influencers and users begin using this powerful trending color in their arts and crafts, as well as in their branding decisions. The color of the year is a quick-starting and pervasive trend that creates influential hashtags and brand recognition.

Do you feel like you’ve been seeing purple in 2018? Maybe it’s Ultra Violet, Pantone’s 2018 color of the year. For all of you graphic designers, that’s Pantone 18-3838, or in Hex, it’ll be 5F4B8B.

Pantone suggests that, while the color of the year is chosen from what’s already trending and predicted to retain its relevancy, it also has a lot to say about what is needed in our time. Colors can convey messages and meanings that inspire brands in the way that they influence their audiences.

Pantone describes Ultra Violet as “provocative and thoughtful,” and intends it to inspire “visionary thinking.” Ultra Violet is characterized by the image of reaching toward the future. Bright and deep at the same time, Ultra Violet is as compatible with sparks of genius as it is with our contemporary fascination with the cosmos and greater purposes beyond our being.

Whether you buy into the hidden messages of colors, or whether you just believe in the power of trends to market your products, eyes are going to be trained-on and drawn-to Ultra Violet this year.

  1. Instagram Flatlays

Example of a flat lay product image for Instagram

Ultra Violet is for the inventive, meaning that, whether it’s just in the text of your ads, or it’s in images of your products themselves, this color will draw people to your new releases and product showcases. Flatlays make an art out of arranging and photographing products that demonstrates their uses as well as their aesthetic appeal. A good flatlay will show a product alongside other objects that enhance the product’s use or vibe.

For instance, if you are showcasing a notebook, you could photograph it with an attractive pencil or pen, decorative paperclips, a book mark, and other assorted items to build the multi-dimensionality of the object in question. This is a lot like lifestyle branding, where your primary intention is to build an atmosphere or persona that the consumer identifies with. In this case, not all objects need to be directly applicable to the main object. Using a houseplant in a notebook flatlay will add atmosphere and personality to your composition.

When putting together a flatlay for the color of the year, keep in mind that trend colors don’t have to be front and center in your images to get noticed and help gain interest. Too much purple can run the risk of overstimulating normal users, so err on the side of balance, by using an Ultra Violet theme. Rather than worrying about your product being Ultra Violet, use the color of the year in surrounding items. Two purple items, depending on placement and how iconic they are, could do the trick. Make sure that the filter you’re using won’t change the color too much, making it too blue or too red.

Amethysts: Part of the color of the year hype draws on the self-help and wellbeing movements, so a premium for attraction will be gems and stones that exhibit this color, notably amethyst. In the wellbeing movement, amethysts have healing powers and can stave off nightmares and insomnia. Believe it or not, using a rough-cut amethyst could be excellent branding this year to show your brand’s community engagement and concern with personal wellbeing.



  1. Hashtags

Using hashtags such as #Pantone2018, #UltraViolet, #Coloroftheyear, and other variations on Instagram and Twitter are a must. Even if your text is the only Ultra-Violet thing about your post, as long as it’s compelling content, it will win other users over. To get the right kind of marketing boost from the color of the year, it needs to be seen by people who know about it, as well as those who don’t.

You can use a hashtag generator in this case, but it’s always a good measure to do a little legwork yourself. Check the related hashtags so that you can keep up on the current hashtag variation and spinoffs, and remember that sometimes a misspelled hashtag will be as frequently viewed as one that is spelled correctly.

Those who aren’t in the forefront of the trend will find your posts to be “on point,” that is, your posts will somehow always feel relevant. Those who are in the forefront of the trend will promote it with likes and comments.


  1. Ideological marketing

In most cases, you’ll want to keep political messages out of your branding. But in terms of the color of the year, the message is one of inclusion and bringing individuals together. If your brand is sympathetic to the goals of unification that a mixture of the colors red and blue can offer, then the message of this color could go a long way for you.

For many people, especially in the United States, Ultra Violet has come to represent a progressive, almost futuristic ideological balance. Many people hope that future endeavors and innovations in society can help to bridge the gap between ideologies and begin to develop human understandings. Of course, your branding doesn’t need to come out and say this. That would be a little heavy handed. But appealing to others in the community who are using the color of the year this way could land you a loyal following.


If you align your social media marketing with social causes that your branding agrees with, then branding in colors that represent this agreement will show your customers a transparent and personable face of care and concern for the global community.

Participating in broad trends such as the color of the year doesn’t just demonstrate that you can capitalize on the popularity of a color. It also shows people that your brand knows what’s culturally relevant, and is an active participant in the conversation. To get the most out of marketing with the color of the year, don’t just use it, interpret it.

Rebecca Moses on Twitter
Rebecca Moses
Staff Writer: Rebecca Moses is a creative writer who can't keep from meddling in the real world. While living in Colorado, she developed a particular interest in small business production. She loves a writing challenge, dabbles in illustration, and reads to figure out how all things work and grow. Find her at RebeccaMosesWriting.com

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Staff Writer: Rebecca Moses is a creative writer who can't keep from meddling in the real world. While living in Colorado, she developed a particular interest in small business production. She loves a writing challenge, dabbles in illustration, and reads to figure out how all things work and grow. Find her at RebeccaMosesWriting.com

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