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2022 Just Got Very Peri; It’s Also the Pantone Color of the Year

by Bill McCool on 12/08/2021 | 4 Minute Read

Once again, it’s that time of year again where color wizards and walking swatch book Pantone unveil their 2022 Color of the Year. 

And this year, it’s none other than PANTONE 17-3938. For those of you who haven’t memorized the Pantone library, that’s Very Peri. You also wouldn’t have found this new shade of purplish-blue until today—that’s because, for the very first time, Pantone especially created a new shade for 2022’s Color of the Year festivities. 

Described as “??a dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet-red undertone,” Very Peri is intended to be future-forward, optimistic, and a celebration of all things creative. Basically, the same color some of the cool kids in your high school art class were wearing (unless they were head to toe in black, to which we say, I see you, goth pals). 

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Whereas last year’s selection of Ultimate Gray and Illuminating represented a sense of groundedness and enthusiasm (though who was really enthused in 2020 about the prospect of 2021), this selection is an about-face, one that celebrates the unknown and its myriad possibilities. Apparently, when you’re futzing around with your painter’s palette, you’ve got the steadiness of a true blue and all the fire-truck red energy of a red—mix those two together, and you’ve got a color with its gaze fixed on the horizon.

Or, as Pantone put it, an “empowering mix of newness.”

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“As we move into a world of unprecedented change, the selection of PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri brings a novel perspective and vision of the trusted and beloved blue color family,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, in a press release. “Encompassing the qualities of the blues, yet at the same time possessing a violet-red undertone, PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression.”

“The Pantone Color of the Year reflects what is taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for that color can hope to,” added Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. “Creating a new color for the first time in the history of our Pantone Color of the Year educational color program reflects the global innovation and transformation taking place. As society continues to recognize color as a critical form of communication and as a way to express and affect ideas and emotions and engage and connect, the complexity of this new red-violet-infused blue hue highlights the expansive possibilities that lie before us.” 

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Of course, these are unprecedented times (and, yes, it’s oddly dark that we must continue saying this year after year). But the selection is another strike at not just hopefulness but an eagerness for what lies ahead. It’s certainly leaning into its designer toolkit, as we’re starting to emerge from our pandemic bubbles with a keen eye for the power of transformation and innovation. 

But it's also a very clear response to the ostensible metaversing of everything, the marriage of our waking reality and IRL world with an increasingly more digital one. More and more, creatives are turning to virtual spaces, hocking their wares as NFTs or contributing to the gamification of everything. Yes, your future is very much online, but Very Peri is a little nudge in that direction.

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Of course, not to be an alarmist, but periwinkle is also considered the “flower of death,” not just because in folklore it was usually employed to make wreaths and headbands for deceased children, but it’s also a highly invasive species in North America known to choke out native plants and flowers. So there's that!

But, hey, look at the blueish-purple! Isn’t that dandy?

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