Ultra Violet: Get inspired by Pantone's color of the year for your Shopify theme & products

by Michael P. Hill 4 min read

Ultra Violet: Get inspired by Pantone's color of the year for your Shopify theme & products

It may look like just an ordinary shade of violet — but Pantone’s Color of the Year, Ultra Violet, can serve as inspiration for your Shopify theme’s look and product offerings.

According to Pantone, its pick for Color of the Year “communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.” In addition, Pantone draws connections to the shade’s close relationships with mindfulness practices.

Ultra Violet vs. Indigo

Although Ultra Violet is distinct from Shopify’s own signature Indigo color which it introduced as part of its Polaris design framework in 2017, it is interesting to note that the two colors are still fairly close cousins on the color wheel.

Getting colorful

Integrating Ultra Violet, or a close match to it, is a great way to lend a fresh new look to your site — as well as communicate the emotions associated with it.

To use Ultra Violet on a website or digital product, Pantone recommends using HEX color code #654EA3 or #5F4B8B. For physical and printed products, you can of course use the Pantone itself or the CMYK equivalent which is usually cheaper (76C, 75M, 0Y, 0K).

Although the Pantone color of the year is, almost by definition, “on trend” and quickly becomes used more extensively in the design world, it can still be a good choice for a variety of reasons:

  • Stores that rely on being trendy or appealing to millennials may be in a particular position to benefit from utilizing violets in at least some capacity.
  • It’s still possible to find new and unique ways to integrate violet into your designs.
  • There is still significant room for interpretation and imagination to use varying shades of violet instead of the exact one other sites may be using.

In many cases, your site’s existing color palette may already integrate well with many shades of violet. Sites with oranges, yellows, blues, reds or other purples are prime candidates for having a fresh shade of violet added to the mix.

Whether or not your website color scheme or branding coordinates with ultra violet, there are always a variety of ways to use it or any other particular color, in a variety of creative ways:

  • Consider creating a unique look for a special sale event, product launch or other big announcement that makes use of a shade of violet as its base, especially if that event has something to do with mindfulness (yoga, journaling, meditation), creativity (workshops, kids toys, unusual gifts) or an international, even "galactic" component (astronomy products, science or maker fair) or more.

Accent color

  • Use the color as an accent to draw attention to a particular word or design element.
  • Even if your site doesn’t lend itself to a violet shade being blended in, the color can still be used sparingly on elements that you want to draw particular attention to — such as “add to cart” buttons or special notices.

Ultra Violet complementary color

  • If you want a particular color to really "pop," pair it with its complementary hue on the opposite side of the color wheel; in the case of Ultra Violet, this would be something in the yellow range, like Pantone’s “Citrus” color or HEX #f3b353.

Pantone’s website has a great selection of color palettes that can serve as inspiration with the fun names Purple Haze, Kindred Spirits, Drama Queen, Intrigue, Quietude, Attitude, Desert Sunset, Floral Fantasies.

Consider following the cues from the palette names based on the products you sell or image you’d like to convey to select colors to add to your site design (or, if you’re redesigning, this can be a great place to start).

A unique take

Given the high profile nature of Pantone’s annual Color of the Year pick, it’s not uncommon to see the market flooded with that shade (and close family members). However, there are still some great ways to integrate this color — or any other color trend — without overdoing it:

Ultra Violet patterns

  • Instead of using the color as a solid background color, consider using it in patterns and textures.

Ultra Violet outline text

  • Lettering doesn’t need to be solid color — instead, consider switching to outlined text or textured fills.

Ultra Violet color overlay

  • Colors can also be overlaid on top of either black and white or color photography to add a subtle — or not so subtle — splash of the color in question.

Ultra Violet accent color

  • Use the color as an accent, rather than a main focal point of your designs.

Ultra violet close colors

  • If you want to downplay a particular color so that it doesn’t dominate everything, surround it with colors that are close to it on the color wheel; in the case of Ultra Violet, this would be blues and pinks.

Product development

Of course, color trends can also be used beyond your website settings in another key area of your business — your products:

  • Add violet color variants to your most popular products, especially ones that appeal to demographics who are likely to find Ultra Violet appealing (this color works especially well for fashion, makeup, home decor and accessories — even jewelry can boast violet gemstones, such as amethyst).
  • In addition, consider adding products with colors that are designed to coordinate directly with Ultra Violet; this can be especially important for fashion, beauty and home furnishings.
  • Highlight your violet themed products in specially curated collections and spotlight them through blog posts, social media updates or homepage slideshow promotion.

Keep in mind that Pantone colors, including Ultra Violet, may be protected by various intellectual property laws, so be sure to fully investigate if you have secured any necessary rights to use it in your products. If you are printing products with Pantone inks, be prepared to pay for a spot color in addition to your other color plates.

The same goes for creating products that mimic the Pantone color chip look — Pantone typically owns the rights to this general look and feel and selling unauthorized items can lead to legal conflicts.

If you source products from third parties, you’ll also want to make sure that any items claiming to be Pantone matches are properly licensed and genuine.

No violet?

Finally, it’s worth noting that it’s not necessary to add this year (or any other year’s) Color of the Year just for the sake of doing so. While it can be a great way to keep your site and products fresh and on point, it should also, just like any other design change or update you make to your site, be a careful and strategic decision that is relevant to your business and product catalog.

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn. While comments and feedback are always appreciated, Michael regrets that, due to the volume of inquires received, personal responses are not possible. For specific assistance or support with Out of the Sandbox themes, visit the help center.



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