Everything You Need to Know About Pantone's Creative and Courageous Color of the Year
min read

Everything You Need to Know About Pantone's Creative and Courageous Color of the Year

Pantone just released their latest Color of the Year—here's the rundown.

If you haven’t heard, Pantone just announced its color for the year for 2022: PANTONE 17-3938, or, as it is affectionately known, “Very Peri.” Cute. 

As per usual, there was a lot of excitement around the announcement of Pantone’s decision (especially amongst the design community)...

This year's choice is a bit historic in its own right, as—for the first time ever—Pantone created this color anew, rather than pulling from its existing archive (an archive that is kiiiiiind of massive, by the way).

We are big fans of Pantone (but who isn't)—and utilize their color-matching system when mixing inks for custom t-shirt designs and beyond. It's a helpful way of all speaking the same language and ensuring consistency.

With that said, let's dive a little deeper into this year's choice—and how you can use it in your designs throughout the year.

Some Context on Pantone and Their Color of the Year

For 23 years, the Pantone Color of the Year selection process has taken place—and happens as a result of a tonnnn of trend analysis and forecasting. Pantone taps into their team of color experts (imagine that being your job title) to search through history, architecture, design, art, film, fashion, etc. all throughout the world for inspiration.

The decision is a big one, because Pantone's choice carries a lot of weight. The Color of the Year often ends up influencing design across multiple industries. Remember when so-called "Millennial Pink" was all you saw, EVERYWHERE? Many credit that trend to Pantone's choice of "Rose Quartz" as the 2016 Color of the Year.

While the Pantone color of the year generally serves as a forecast/setter of trends to come, we've noticed that the group has lately seemed to lean more heavily into meaning and metaphor when landing on a color than ever before. Obviously, color always communicates emotion—but Pantone's decision to dive into that even deeper in recent years communicates something interesting about our overarching cultural values, interests, and feelings.

Last year, the choice of two colors (a dull, neutral gray and a bright, poppy yellow) communicated a ton about the larger emotional state of the the world and the people in it. It's rare that, across the globe, we're all going through the same thing at the same time—but the past few years have changed that. The meeting place of the two 2021 Pantone colors attempted to communicate that overarching feeling of simultaneous isolation and unity, depression and hope.

What Pantone Says About Very Peri

Pantone describes Very Peri as a symbol of transition, "displaying a carefree confidence and a daring curiosity that animates our creative spirit." 

With this color being created rather than chosen, there's a ton of meaning and intention behind both that decision and the color that was created.

“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." —Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute

As we move into a new year, one filled with cautious hope about coming out of the dark hole that has been the entire 2020-2021 stretch (sigh), the complexity of the "new red violet infused blue hue," that is Very Peri feels right. It may just be us, but it also seems to harken back to some nostalgic feel (think tumblr in 2014 or something), which is nice. It's unconventional and unexpected, but in a good way—unlike a lot of other "unprecedented" things we've dealt with over the past year (again, I say: sigh).

Using Very Peri In Your Next Design

Knowing that the intention of the Color of the Year is to inspire designs across multiple disciplines and industries, Pantone is kind enough to provide a really helpful Palette Exploration that helps you use the color in context.

Based on their proposed palettes, Very Peri is surprisingly versatile—working well as a standout amongst neutral tones, or as a complement to other bold hues. Our personal favorite of Pantone's recommendations is "Balancing Act," pictured below. The colorful, but muted tones allow Very Peri to stand out, making the entire palette feel a bit brighter and more approachable.

c/o Pantone Design Institute

Our recommendation: Allow the inventiveness and ingenuity that are at Very Peri's core to inspire you as you approach your next design—even if you don't opt to go with the color itself.

Channel the Very Peri energy, adding a pop of unexpected color to an otherwise standard design. Incorporate a bit of texture, or bring your design to an unconventional place on the garment (a side seam, a sleeve print, the lower left of the garment, the back...). Embrace the differences, the nuance, the oxymoron, the balance (I know, I know—I sound like I'm about to teach a yoga class or something, but Very Peri has me feeling ✨inspired✨, ok?!).

Very Peri is a reminder that the design possibilities truly are endless—and an encouragement to experiment and think outside the box. On its deepest level, Very Peri seems to say: "When joy isn't easy to find, create it." And that's a message we can get behind.

Talk to Us

Ready to take your designs to the next level? Whether you're excited about bringing Pantone's Color of the Year to life or want to create something different, we'd love to talk about how to bring your vision into the world. Reach out to the team and we'll have you on your way to design magic in no time.

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