Even for many of us actively immersed in the design world, Pantone’s selection for Colour of the Year tends to come as somewhat of a surprise. This year, though, we couldn’t have guessed it if we tried: For the first time in its over 20-year history, Pantone created a brand new colour for its 2022 pick – Pantone 17-3938 (Very Peri).
It’s not the only time Pantone has broken their own rules with the Colour of the Year program, however. Just last year, Pantone announced a dual “colour match” with the somber Ultimate Grey and Illuminating, a cheerful canary yellow — a pairing that seemed appropriate in a time of global transformation.
At first glance, this year’s colour is more playful, slightly tongue in cheek — eerily reminiscent of some animated characters of days past (think Sully from Monsters Inc.’s purple spots, Little Mermaid’s Ursula, or even Tinky Winky from the teletubbies). One thing is certain though, the colour isn’t boring. In a press release, Pantone explained the reasoning behind this new shade: “We wanted to create a colour that blends the faithfulness and constancy of blue with the energy and excitement of red.” Though Very Peri could be perceived as as a deep purple, Pantone calls it a “periwinkle blue” that “animates our creative spirits.”
The hue is inspired by recent advances in technology and digital spaces (such as the meteoric rise in digital currencies such as NFTs and crypto) and a turn towards the “metaverse,” where our interactions will take place entirely online. As we slowly attempt to emerge from a global pandemic, Very Peri is also a bright reminder of the joy of re-connection.
The history of Pantone’s colour of the year began in 2000 with Cerulean blue — a shade that now calls to mind an infamous scene from The Devil Wears Prada (2006). In the years since, the annual announcement has become a design milestone that, if nothing else, makes us anticipate the year ahead. To arrive at a decision, colour experts at the Pantone Color Institute comb the world each year looking for new trends and influences. Their choice ultimately influences product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings and industrial design.
Pantone 17-3938 (Very Peri) will now be added to the brand’s catalogue of over 2,000 colours. Via the Pantone Connect digital colour platform, designers can access four colour palettes with expertly-chosen matches to use as inspiration.
This year’s Pantone Colour of the Year represents “carefree confidence and a daring curiosity.”