Pantone Reveals 2022 Color of the Year

The colloquial “What’s new?” has weathered away as a conversation opener as the pandemic has stretched into its second year, but Pantone is providing a solid answer to that question with its Color of the Year.

Instead of culling a winner from its leading seasonal colors — or two, as has been the case in years past — the color specialists have gone off the grid to create the 2022 shade. Their choice of Very Peri — Pantone 17-3938 — was unveiled Wednesday night at an immersive event at Artechouse.

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Knowing many people still feel mired in sameness while searching for ways to live and work differently, as well as the will and determination to deal with current challenges, Pantone Color Institute specialists said they also took into account the promise of eye opening perspectives and possibilities, our increased reliance on digital technology and “this whole thing with the metaverse” in developing the new hue. That’s an awful lot to ask of any color, but in the name of creativity, newness and the future, they created one.

During a joint interview with Pantone Color Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman, vice president Laurie Pressman said, “This is a really different time. How do we capture this moment with the world in transformation as it is? How can we come up with something that symbolizes the global zeitgeist and the transition the world is going through?”

After much thought, homework, decision making, and back-and-forth about how to encapsulate all of those feelings into a color that conveys inventiveness, Pantone came up with Very Peri, a periwinkle blue with an undertone of a red violet. The blue family was a starting point, due to the familiarity, comfort level, safety factor and beloved sense many people have for blue, Eiseman said. They also wanted to relay a sense of freshness, movement toward the future and a reflection of the digitalized world — which is where the red violet undertone comes in, she said.

That combination is meant to deliver dynamism, creativity, imagination and moving ahead. “We’re very excited about it because it is a new Pantone color. This is the first time for Color of the Year that we have ever done that,” Eiseman said.

The blue and red combo is not “at all” meant to bridge political parties, Pressman said. “It really goes back to the comfort level, constancy and trusted qualities of the blue. This wasn’t about politics at all. And to bring a fresh perspective to the blue family.”

Interestingly, Very Peri can be found in nature, as seen in periwinkle flowers, exotic birds, butterflies and mammals, and also in the digital space. With digital design opening up another range of color possibilities, Pressman noted that people are seamlessly connecting their physical surroundings with what they see on screens.

That versatility also extends to fashion, since Very Peri works in so many color combinations “from the neutrals and more sophisticated colors all the way up to the more sprightly, brighter colors,” Eiseman said. “If you translate that for fashion, you can imagine it for sumptuous or metallic fabric for after five for a dressier look along with her accessories. And at the same time in casualwear, it’s a great color for fleece and colors like that. It’s not a color that you would think of having that flexibility. Yet it is, when you start to work with it.”

Not violet, Very Peri is more of a warmer blue with a playfulness that the design community should take to, Pressman said. Not only fun, but futuristic, the hue is reflective of some filaments and orbs, Eiseman said. The color also has a certain tactility that translates well into a slinky fabric or a plush one for an entirely different feeling, she said. Creating the shade is also supposed to encourage ingenuity among designers.

In terms of incorporating Very Peri into the digital world, consumers can use it for your wallpapers, background for a Zoom call, any kind of animation, digital art, gaming, digital fashion and other applications, Pressman emphasized. “I keep going back to metaverse. I hate using the word now that [the company formerly known as] Facebook has taken that over. It’s a broad word, but whether it’s gaming, fashion or interiors in the metaverse. Maybe it’s part of my store. Maybe it’s part of my environment or the dress I’m featuring. Maybe my avatar wants to wear it, when she goes to the Adele concert in the metaverse. Maybe it’s something that Robles is creating with Louis Vuitton. There are so many different applications when you started getting in that space. It could be used for animation, films or shows. It’s a color that really moves seamlessly between physical and digital.”

Addressing the potential, Pressman noted how all this digital clothing is being created by many brands including Nike, Vans and Gucci that “so many people are buying,”

While Very Peri is well suited for all kinds of physical applications, Pantone couldn’t ignore where things are headed, and this is an acknowledgment of the color gamut that is available to people in that realm, Pressman said. (Pantone joined forces with Microsoft to offer the Color of the Year in custom Teams backgrounds, Windows wallpapers, a new Edge theme and across other Microsoft products.)

To some extent, that dovetails into Pantone’s ethos. “From the very beginning, our whole intention was to create a conversation around color. It certainly has done that. People are understanding color more, because they are more immersed in it. They are curious about it. That opens up much more potential for a color that is slightly unusual,” Eiseman said.

With help from Tezos, an energy-efficient blockchain network, Pantone is diving into digital art with the Color of the Year. The Paris-based artist known as Polygon1993 linked up with both parties to create a digital representation of the color for the Artechouse installation at the preview event. And Pantone partnered with Cariuma for limited-edition Color of the Year footwear.

Virgil Abloh’s final collection for Louis Vuitton men’s wear featured styles in Very Peri. Ariana Grande has sported the color in a vintage Gucci halter top on “The Voice,” and Lady Gaga dons the shade in “The House of Gucci” movie.

Overall, Very Peri could be a reminder to dream. “The futuristic aspect to it plays not only to technology, but also to where our minds can go. There will be a better space out there. That’s something to strive for. Absolutely.”

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