Color is not something that most of us give much thought to. The grass is green, the sky is blue, and the snow is white. That said, once a year, the design community comes together to discuss a single color — Pantone’s Color of the Year.
Every December, Pantone announces its Color of the Year. For 2022, Pantone has announced a completely new shade as its Color of the Year for the first time. Traditionally, Pantone picked Color of the Year from its swatch books, so this new color represents fresh beginnings — or does it?
Very Peri (PANTONE 17-3938) is the Color of the Year 2022. It is a pale violet color that looks very retro — it reminds us of one of Jerry’s shirts from Seinfeld — and spring-like — a carpet of flowering bluebells come to mind. This year’s color is just as attractive as previous choices with delicate purple (or similar shades), such as 2014’s Radiant Orchid, 2016’s Rose Quartz-Serenity blend, and 2018’s Ultra Violet.
Pantone says that Very Peri is “a new Pantone color whose courageous presence encourages personal inventiveness and creativity.” Pantone says a lot about their Color of the Year.
All of this is easy for Pantone to say. However, for a company whose annual color choice has “...influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design,” they do not say not much to back up their claims. Most of what Pantone says about the relevance of their Color of the Year 2022 to the current atmosphere is not as straightforward or robust as they make it out to be.
Cultural factors have a significant influence on the way we perceive colors. Colors have been ingrained in our cultural standards and shorthands as a byproduct of generations of associations in stories and rituals. White is considered clean and pure — no wonder it is the most popular color for bridal gowns in the U.S. Black is traditionally worn to funerals to express bereavement and grief. However, in many parts of the world, bridal gowns are often scarlet to represent prosperity and grace. Some people also believe that white should only be worn during funerals and never at weddings. All of this is to say that, while we all see the same colors, we all perceive them differently.
In simple words: Color perception is a very scientific phenomenon. However, there is a good amount of cultural relativity regarding how people emotionally react to colors.
It is unclear how this plays out in inbound marketing or Sanford web design. If someone is asked what color makes them feel angry, they will most likely say red. However, we are unsure if the same emotional connection holds when a red box of Nestlé milk chocolate flavor hot cocoa mix is grabbed off the grocery store shelf.
Colors are a tool for web design professionals like P&WD. The feelings and emotions we associate with a particular shade are not as important as how the color is used — for example, using a vastly different color from the competition can help a brand stand out.
Color should not be viewed in isolation but in relation to how well it works in a particular application.
Related Blog: How To Choose the Right Colors For Your Brand?
So when Pantone says that “Very Peri is a symbol of the global zeitgeist of the moment and the transition we are going through,” our designers were unconvinced. Any color Pantone chooses will be used by many designers simply because it is the Color of the Year. It is almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
To us, this color is all about starting new dialogues, whether on the internet or real world. It is not so much about who is correct or incorrect about a particular color as it is about the fact that we are having a dialogue around individual perception. What some call blue may be considered violet by others, and vice versa.
Will there be a difference in interest around color trends in the metaverse when web designers have handpicked everything you see? That is probably what Pantone is betting on, having announced an entirely new color for its Color of the Year with our online lives in mind.
The team at PWD is concerned about its use in today’s digital world. For one thing, Very Peri is not a very user-friendly shade in terms of accessibility. It only works at the bare minimum of what is acceptable for basic white and black accessibility as it has a contrast ratio of 5.14. Contrast is a crucial parameter for accessible text on websites — the lower the ratio, the more difficult it is for those with poor eyesight to read the text. Five is a passing ratio, but it is also the lowest rating. There are much higher ratings that can be achieved.
Consistency is another factor to consider. Color is becoming more flexible today, which is both good and bad. Colors might not always look the same on different displays. Maintaining color consistency across physical and digital media can be difficult and requires a thorough, rigorous approach.
While Very Peri may have limitations for design professionals, Pantone’s Color of the Year does the job as a catalyst to start conversations.
Do you want to showcase Very Peri’s curiosity and creativity in designs that will take you through 2022 and beyond? We can help. At Print And Web Designer, we offer a full suite of brand design and print design services for businesses in North Carolina, including brochure design, magazine design, and Triangle web design.
Call us at (336) 684-6505 or fill out this online form to speak with us today.
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Being in the design business for over 30 years, we've used many kinds of software and hardware, from Microsoft Publisher to Indesign. The freeware NVU to Joomla. From the old typesetting machines to a full-blown four-color press. This isn't complicated. Just as a mechanic uses the basic tools with a few exceptions, so do we.