Ultra Violet to Aubergine: Reading purple

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.

Kids’ books

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.

Graphic novels

Visual by their nature, it’s not a tremendous surprise that graphic novels would make good use of colour in the covers.

Cover of World trigger Cover of Rezero Cover of Spinning Cover of Magi Cover of Angel Catbird Cover of Black butler

Young Adult

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.

Cover of Shadowhouse Fall Cover of Firsts Cover of Jane unlimited Cover of Intensity Cover of Origins of evil Cover of Because of you Cover of The ends of the world Cover of Beasts made of night Cover of Ringer

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.

Cover of Myles textbook for midwives Cover of The Fibro manual Cover of Father therapy Cover of Cognitive behaviour therapy for OCD Cover of The Journey Cover of Baby names 2018 Cover of Resistance band workout Cover of The hormone myth Cover of the baby detective

Fiction (mostly mystery)

Here’s hoping they saved the purple for the cover, not the prose.

Cover of The Mitford murders Cover of Miraculous mysteries Cover of Shattered Cover of Barely legal Cover of Death in St Petersburg Cover of The locals Cover of The art of hiding Cover of Christmas in Icicle Falls

Tech, science and maths

Ha. Maybe purple really does “take our awareness and potential to a higher level”?

Cover of the night watchers Cover of Modern Java recipes Cover of Samsung Galaxy S8 Cover of Minecraft Cover of An introduction to linear algebra

Food

There aren’t that many naturally purple foods but, oh yes, there’s an aubergine in the mix there.

Cover of The flexible vegetarian Cover of The fearless baker Cover of What am I supposed to eat? Cover of Dinner with Dickens

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 colourcolour 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.

2 thoughts on “Ultra Violet to Aubergine: Reading purple

  1. Gallivanta 19 December 2017 / 10:57 pm

    Love seeing all these purple tones. Before I knew about the Pantone colour of the year, I sang the praises of a very purple book called Myrtle the Purple Turtle by Cynthia Reyes (hopefully my prose was not purple). I know you won’t have a copy in the library but I just want to add another purple book cover to your post. https://silkannthreades.wordpress.com/tag/myrtle-the-purple-turtle/ I am a fan of purple, in case you hadn’t picked up on that. 😀

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