Since 2000, Pantone has set the tone (literally) for the upcoming months with its “Color of the Year” announcement. This year, Pantone recognized we were ready for something extraordinary for 2022 with the selection of their new color Very Peri. For the first time, they have created a custom Color of the Year instead of selecting one from their expansive Pantone Color System palette. This fresh new shade signals an optimistic vision for the coming year.
At CBX, the team in Design Strategy recognizes shifts in visual language, decodes the meaning of those visual elements, and identifies opportunities for brands to leverage these cues to be relevant and inspirational. A sign for emerging cultural shifts can even show up as a singular color, as is the case with Very Peri.
As Pantone notes, Very Peri is a symbol of the times, “a global zeitgeist” that transforms and merges our physical and digital lives in new ways, after being in isolation and quarantine due to the global pandemic. Very Peri illustrates the fusion between the digital world and the physical world by creating a new color that encourages imagination and creativity.
Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute: writes, “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. As society continues to recognize color as a critical form of communication, and a way to express and affect ideas and emotions and engage and connect, the complexity of this new red violet–infused blue hue highlights the expansive possibilities that lay before us.”
So, what does this mean for the consumer mindset going into 2022? After two years of being inundated with alarming news, consumers are constantly striving to stay abreast of changes in the political and health landscape and reverting to familiar comforts as a means of coping. We believe we are moving to a new stage of inventing our own reality, and crafting a unique, positive outlook.
How does this Pantone shade reflect the trends forecasted for the coming year? We turned to our resources and CBXperts to dive into those connections.
Trend 1: Empowerment
According to recent Mintel reports, “In times of uncertainty, consumers crave a sense of agency over their lives.” Brands will need to find ways to empower consumers to give them confidence in their decision-making experience. They can best do this with truthful communication: clearly stating health benefits or risks, creating a transparent and honest view of the environmental impact of their products and ethical claims.
Giving consumers the data and claims, clearly outlined, helps them make educated decisions about the products they choose for themselves and their families. It’s giving them back a sense of control after two years of feeling somewhat out of control in so many aspects of life.
So how does this connect to Very Peri? Pantone’s creation of Very Peri is a nod toward inventiveness. Borrowing hues from blue and red, Very Peri signals a sense of joy and power, traits often connected to empowerment. Red signifies energy, and blue evokes peace and tranquility, so when you put them together you get an overall sense of wisdom and strength.
Trend 2: Enjoyment Everywhere
As we enter Year 3 of isolation, consumers are seeking new experiences and means of finding joy and happiness. According to Mintel Trends, “Consumers are in need of joyful respites amid the anxiety and stress from the pandemic and other crises.” Playful flavors and colors, surprising textures and interactivity all add up to enjoyment. Leatrice Eisman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, writes, “Very Peri displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expressions.”
We can help consumers escape their worries, even for just a moment, by surprising them with small, attainable enjoyment. A fresh flavor, a delightful reimagining of brand equities, or an unexpected brand collaboration–these are all simple ways to delight consumers. As Amy Kosnick, CBX Director of Design Strategy, says, “In 2022, people will be actively seeking attainable sources of joy in what we have come to accept as our ever-changing new normal.”
Trend 3: Flexible Social Spaces
In the spring of 2020, we noticed a great shift in the way we use space. Outside the home, parking lots became testing centers, restaurants were pop-up grocery stores, and retailers pivoted from fashion to PPE manufacturing. Inside our homes, basements became gyms, dining rooms were classrooms, and bedrooms turned into offices (hopefully with some semblance of privacy). We also found communities online–virtual yoga with strangers, children socializing by gaming online, and families celebrating milestones virtually.
According to Mintel, “Retailers, restaurants and brands can create multifunctional and meaningful spaces where consumers can connect, shop and eat in-person or online.” And it’s these connections, both physical and virtual, where people relate over shared interests and passions. Very Peri is the embodiment of this feeling of togetherness with its good-natured warmth of red combined with the friendliness of blue.
There are examples of the 2022 Very Peri shade already in our culture. Spend a little time with Pantone’s Color of the Year and reflect on the lightness, the energy, and the sheer creativity of the shade. There are so many opportunities to infuse more of these qualities in brands and build on the movement to empower and delight people daily.