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  • Writer's pictureNatalia Montes

How does Pantone pick the color of the year?

Very Peri “Pantone 17-3938” is the color of 2022

First things first. What is Pantone? It is the most recognized and used system of identification, comparison and communication of color for graphic arts.

Back in 1956, it was a small business that commercialized color palettes for make-up brands. One of its chemists, Lawrence Hebert, bought the enterprise and created “recipes” for printers, which would replicate ink colors in a standard tone with uniform results.

The chromatic identifier was born. Over time, this practical color guide expanded to other sectors such as textile, paint, plastic and interior design.

With the end of the Millenium, in the year 2000 Pantone began editing “The Color Of The Year” and designated one for the first time. The color they picked to represent 2000 was Cerulean Blue 15-4020, along with a justification behind explaining color’s effect on people.

Their idea was such a huge marketing success, that since then, the Pantone “Color Of the Year” announcement is widely expected among designers and artists.

But, how do they pick the color?

A couple of times per year, Pantone organizes a reunion with 40 ‘color standards’ experts (yep, that’s a thing) from around the world. They debate, and when they meet for a second reunion, they pick the color for next year.

They begin by analyzing the color tendencies that have been commonly used worldwide in fashion, arts, marketing, film, tv, graphics, etc. Colors that are seen in impactful political changes, social movements, lifestyle, and so on.

After that, they choose a color family that fits the mood (with all of its tones as possible candidates). In the second reunion, they make a final decision by focusing on the values and emotions that are linked to that specific shade of color, and they give it a proper name.

The result of the reunion gets published in “Pantone View” along with the color palette that will go with it and an explanation behind the choice. This has a real influence on trends and you will start to notice it as soon as the next year begins.

The thing is, that this is not just randomness. Colors are symbolic and symbols link to psychology. Collective psychology makes up society!

Notice that Very Peri is a combination of blue with a red undertone, creating a violet gradient. It’s a combination of contrasting colors, a bit like the merging of the physical and digital world since isolation. According to the company, Very Peri ‘displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression.’

So it is kinda like a motivation to rebuild ourselves up in creative ways after the complicated times that we’ve been facing. A motivation to have hope as we enter another unpredictable year. Colors say more than we can perceive at first glance.

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