Last week Pantone announced their colour of the year for 2018* and fans of purple will be happy. Ultra Violet, as it is being called, is a “…blue-based purple that takes our awareness and potential to a higher level”.
While this might sound a bit of a big ask for a mauvey shade that might easily have been called “Nana’s lampshade”, it’s worth pointing out that when it comes to colours all sorts of meanings can be conveyed. Whether it makes sense to or not, we associate colours with feelings, ideas, and concepts and this fact is not lost on designers and artists.
I accidentally proved as much when I decided to scroll through books from this year, looking for those that were ahead of the field in featuring next year’s representative hue… and found patterns emerging.
Purple, on the whole, isn’t as popular a colour for book cover art as some others – black is very common in some genres, shades of blue turn up a lot, and if you like Romance fiction hopefully you’re not repelled by the colour pink…
In any event, here is how Ultra Violet groups itself in our catalogue, more or less.
The cover art for kids’ books, as it is with their clothing, decor and other possessions, is a bit more exuberant with the use of colour than you find with the corresponding versions aimed at adults. Because time and age hasn’t made them love neutrals yet, I guess.
Visual by their nature, it’s not a tremendous surprise that graphic novels would make good use of colour in the covers.
Did you used to be a kid a little while ago? Then you might still be interested in some of those colours you used to see a lot of during childhood.
Health, wellbeing and babies
Maybe it’s that purple is “gender neutral”? Maybe it’s that parts of your body sometimes go purple if they’re exerting themselves? Anyway, enjoy these kinder, gentler purple covers.
Fiction (mostly mystery)
Here’s hoping they saved the purple for the cover, not the prose.
Tech, science and maths
Ha. Maybe purple really does “take our awareness and potential to a higher level”?
There aren’t that many naturally purple foods but, oh yes, there’s an aubergine in the mix there.
The last word in purple covers
And while it’s not a new title, you can’t write a blog post about book covers that are the colour purple without mentioning The color purple.
More on colours
If this is a topic that’s of interest to you we have a number of really interesting titles about the history of colour, colour in art history, and the science of colour.
*Amazingly, Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre has managed to use 2017’s Pantone colour, a bright green, with a splash of Ultra Violet, that proves that it was super “on trend” when it opened earlier this year.