Is the Pantone Color of the Year a Bit Shady or a 2022 Standout?

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Pantone®, the color matching and standards company recently pronounced their color of 2022: Very Peri, or PANTONE® 17-393, a periwinkle shade that promises it is a new color “whose courageous presence encourages personal inventiveness and creativity”.

Pantone 17-3938 TPG

Pantone further explains that Veri Peri embodies the following:

Pantone even goes so far to suggest that Veri Peri “illustrates the fusion of modern life and how color trends in the digital world are being manifested in the physical world and vice versa.” Wow! That is a lot to ascribe to a color hue!

As we look back at other Pantone prognostications, we see that Pantone 2021 was Ultimate Grey and a yellow they called Illuminating (maybe they needed to be in combination?), 2020 was Classic Blue and 2019 was Living Coral. And they have been making these predictions since 2000 and we do not see many repeats.

Past Pantone Colors of the Year

Trendspotter publication Well + Good has already found products in the newly “created” Pantone color from apparel to bedsheets, cosmetics and, well…let’s just call them “devices”, in Veri Peri variations that they predict we will all be buying this year.

Despite making light of Veri Peri, we have a lot of respect for Pantone. Without the Pantone Matching System® there would be no standards for matching color on screen, for printing, textiles, substrates, paints, construction materials, and more. By blending the “art and science of color”, Pantone has created an undeniably important resource for the many constituents and licensees they serve. And they lean on their expertise and their broad knowledge of the world viewed through the lens of color to be able to make spot examples of color being used in various applications, predict colors that will be popular in home décor, fashion and design in general, and make such bold pronouncements as their Color of the Year!

But as experts who have spent five decades testing packaging for both the physical and digital shelf, we need to approach the Color of the Year announcement with a degree of skepticism similar to how we approach all trends forecasting.

We do agree with Pantone that color, plays a big role in shopper marketing, particularly in packaging, and to have a system in which you can guarantee that it is rendered consistently across media is invaluable. But the role of color in packaging is something that we have decades of experience evaluating and we tend to think of it beyond an element of design that should simply reflect a trend.

The Power of Packaging to Drive Shopper Growth

In our new e-book, “The Power of Packaging to Drive Shopper Growth”, we dedicate an entire chapter to what we have called the Color Code of Conduct. The best practices we have identified there confirm that color can’t be viewed solely through the lens of current trends, or the common perceptions of the psychology of color. Semiotic meaning sometimes attributed to color can vary widely, especially once you are attempting to fit it into global contexts. We believe brands should also take category norms for color with a bit of a grain of salt. As our e-book reveals, sometimes radical departures from category color norms can create breakthroughs that actually stand out and influence the consumer in your favor. In the end, you need to test and measure the degree to which color on your packaging is enhancing the perception of Benefits or introducing Barriers to shopper choice and amend your pack designs accordingly.

Without giving too much away, as we articulate in the e-book, our 4S framework creates KPIs against which the impact of color can be measured on packs: we have unambiguous metrics for how color impacts your product being Seen, Shoppable, Seductive and Selected, and placed in a shopper’s cart!

If you are not ready to embrace Veri Peri for your brands, and you still need to understand how color helps your products to stand out on the digital and physical shelf, we urge you to download our e-book on the principles for packaging effectiveness and the best practices to achieve it. No matter what your color palette, our Client Success teams are standing by to help you achieve the most important metric of all: Driving Shopper Growth!

Reach out today to learn more here.

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