Titanium dioxide: behind 2018’s colour trends

From the shade of our bedroom walls, to the colours we associate with our favourite brands, colour trends are a bigger part of our lives than we might realise.

For centuries, different colours have been found to have a profound influence on our moods and emotions, working their way into our language and understanding: ‘feeling blue’, ‘red hot’; and as widely accepted symbols in the world around us (red can have several meanings, including danger or prosperity; purple and gold for luxury or wealth, and white for purity, cleanliness and new beginnings). It goes without saying that without the vibrant colours around us, life would be bland, monotonous and dull.


Designing the spectrum

When it comes to the design world, the importance of colour can never be stressed enough and creating bright lasting colours requires key materials and pigments. Titanium dioxide is not only the most important pigment in creating white, bright colours, it is also essential for creating a multitude of pastel colours. Titanium dioxide is largely used in the paint and inks industry to bring colour to life.

Internationally-renowned colour matching experts, Pantone, understand the importance of recreating and matching exact colours in many different shades and tones, each one vibrant and as true as possible.

They say: “When 80% of human experience is filtered through the eyes, we understand that the choice of colour is critical.”

Ultra violet purple sofa in turquoise room


A year of colour

Each year, Pantone Color Institute’s colour prediction report anticipates the colours that will be trending in the upcoming seasons, with Pantone also selecting a colour of the year.

For 2018, they have chosen a bright purple shade, which they call Ultra Violet. This is described as, “a dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade”, which harks back to earlier in 2017, when they released a new shade of purple in memory of flamboyant pop-sensation Prince.

They also associate the colour with boldness in innovation, with Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone’s Executive Director, saying that the colour, “communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us towards the future. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.”

According to Pantone Institute’s trend experts, the rest of 2018’s colours are also characterised by their boldness and vibrancy. Throughout their colour trend report, dramatic pops of colour, Holly Berry Red and Yellow Sulfur, rub shoulders with deep ‘new’ neutrals.

For more 2018 Pantone colour trends:



More than just brilliant white

Colour standards are not just a luxury. In design and printing, they are crucial to ensuring the final product’s colour consistency – be it a painted wall, printed poster or dress fabric – is precisely the shade or tone the client is expecting. Whether working by a Pantone, RAL (European) or British Colour Standards chart, they exist to guarantee that every tone or shade of colour is true, vibrant and long-lasting.

The basis of fantastic colour in the paints and inks industries are in their rich and long-lasting pigments. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) has been used since the early 20th century as the strongest, most brilliant white pigment and, crucially, as a non-toxic alternative to lead in white paints.

However, titanium dioxide can also be found in most other coloured paints, due to its naturally high refractive index. All pigments absorb and scatter light to varying degrees – the higher a substance’s refractive index, the greater its ability to bend and scatter light, giving it a luminous, vibrant quality.

TiO2 possesses the highest refractive index of any substance known to man – higher even than diamond, therefore it is a coveted addition to any paint shade or tone when aiming for the highest colour matching standards.

Blue armchair in turquoise room


Nothing to hide behind

When it comes to interior design, paints not only need to be rich and vibrant, but also need to have opacity (‘hiding power’), and longevity.

Titanium dioxide also gives paint high hiding power, which is the ability to mask (or hide) the substrate underneath it. It does this more effectively than any other base white pigment, therefore it is a vital addition to ensure interior paints standout wherever they are used.

It is also known for its protective and long-lasting qualities, due to its resistance to sunlight in pigment form. This ensures that when our favourite colours of paints or inks are applied, they do not fade or deteriorate.

In these ways, titanium dioxide helps us to surround ourselves with our choice of vibrant colours – bright, durable, and very appealing!