Pantone is known for basing new colours around cultural events – it even releases a colour of the year. So it should come as no surprise that the colour expert has been inspired to take action in response to the recent and continued outpouring against racial injustice. Enter: Ultra Black, created in collaboration with hip hop legend Nas, and inspired by his single of the same name.
According to a press release, while black is often associated with "feelings of darkness", Ultra Black is an electrifying, unifying force representing the colour's "richness, complexity, and profound beauty". Created in support of African-American communities, Ultra Black is "unapologetically Pro-Black, and thus pro-humanity".
Pantone introduced the colour via its Instagram (see post above), emphasising the uplifting power of Ultra Black (see our guide to colour theory to explore the power of colour), and describing it as a symbol of unification of all people. Nas tweeted to introduce the project (below), stating "it was only right that we work with Pantone on this project... This one's from the heart, something the world will feel, the whole vibe of 2020".
It was only right that we work with @pantone on this project, the color experts. This one's from the heart, something the world will feel, the whole vibe of 2020 #UltraBlack pic.twitter.com/fIkhJinkxfAugust 25, 2020
"In our highly visual world, colour is one of the most powerful communication tools we can use to draw immediate attention and get our voices heard," said Laurie Pressman, Vice-President Pantone Colour Institute.
"Supporting 'Ultra Black' with this new ULTRA BLACK colour helps Nas share his message in a visually impactful way, one that will further ensure the global reach of his inspiring and uplifting message."
We wonder if this will end up as Pantone's colour of the year, as some Instagram users have suggested. It's certainly one of the most culturally important colour releases we've seen (definitely more heavy hitting than the introduction of Baywatch Red last year), and the responses across social media have been empowering and uplifting.