• Cate Goodin

Pantone’s New Color of the Year


On January 1st or 2nd (whenever I remember) I enjoy looking up the forecasted fashion trends, The Washington Post In/Out list, upcoming movie releases and the new Pantone Color of the Year. The searches are usually more out of curiosity than an actual desire to follow these “trends.”

The Pantone Color of the Year always surprises me and is often met with backlash. Who knew a color could inspire controversy? This year’s color is “Very Peri”, “whose courageous presence encourages personal inventiveness and creativity,” as Pantone describes it. I see the connection the company is trying to make among a new landscape, recovering from the pandemic, and the new landscape in innovation (á la Metaverse and the digital world.) It does make me laugh a little, though, at the complexity assigned to a color.

Pantone started its Color of the Year at the start of the new millennium in 2000. The process of choosing a color, as Pantone remarks, stems from “thoughtful consideration and trend analysis,” the first color chosen being Cerulean. I’ll never know what I would have thought about that color in 2000, but looking back I find it very fitting. Cerulean, a soft blue, reflects the sky, and I see it as the endless possibilities ahead with the new century.

Another well-chosen color in hindsight was Rose Quartz from 2016. Rose Quartz was Pantone’s refined way of saying Millennial Pink. I definitely remember popular colors and trends of 2016, with that baby pink everywhere, sprouting up in fashion, interior design, and marketing (a lot of credit given to “Glossier”!). I don’t know if there is a better color to represent 2016 than that inescapable pink.

I remember the color combo (Pantone chose two) from 2021, though I was disappointed along with a lot of the world. Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, a yellow, were the colors that were supposed to define 2021. Panone viewed the combination as “practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic.” But seriously, gray and a primary yellow? It seemed very unimaginative and rather drab when everyone was looking for a light at the end of the pandemic. Very Peri seems to be Pantone’s new take on hope. Instead of choosing the most obvious yellow, it is looking to the qualities that give people hope: “inventiveness and creativity.”

Maybe Very Peri will be my Rose Quartz, where at the start of 2023, I’ll think with a smile, “Wow, Very Peri worked.” Or maybe the side of me that views color predictions as all a little silly will win and laugh, “What were they thinking.” It’s interesting to see how much of a prediction Pantone’s choice is, as opposed to the choice acting as an influence and thus a self-fulfilling prophecy. On that thought, I wish you a Very Peri 2022!