COLOR IMMERSION: Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2022

Two photo friends posted this week about the 2022 Pantone Color of the Year and, inspired by Mark Graf and Alex Kunz, I decided to join in. Another photo friend, Linda Graschoff, has just added six beautiful photos inspired by the color of the year to her latest post. At this time of year, I can really use a good dose of color! Pantone is an American company specializing in color for designers, manufacturers, and printers, among others. The company is known for its systems of color swatches that enable industries to produce precisely defined, standardized colors. For example, a country can clearly specify the shade of red on its flag or a textile designer can communicate how a color palette will look when applied to a line of clothing or an interior.

Pantone also has a Color Institute that forecasts color trends and advises companies on ways to use color to support their brands. Each year since 2000 they have announced and promoted a ‘Color of the Year’ that supposedly reflects the current state of the world, the zeitgeist. The color for 2019 was ‘Living Coral,’ a warm, convivial coral color. That was before COVID 19 – I can’t imagine coral being appropriate for this year. In fact, for 2021, two colors were announced – ‘Ultimate Gray’ and ‘Illuminating,’ a bright yellow. The idea was that people need hope (yellow) but want a firm foundation (gray) in uncertain times. Skeptics can say it’s all just blatant consumerism and I’m not running out to buy the color of the year to paint my house, but I find it interesting to look at how these trends reflect the psychology of our times.

My introduction to Pantone colors was way back in 1967 when I got my first set of Pantone color swatches as a student at Parsons School of Design in New York. We were given assignments that involved combining different Pantone colors to illustrate color design principles. I have a clear memory of the weight, texture, and opacity of the chunky little “book” of color swatches and the individual sheets of Pantone paper we used for projects. The paper felt almost like someone painted color onto each sheet. It was visceral, working with those papers, and visceral reactions to color can be very pleasant.

1. This beautiful iris sports a color very close to the 2022 Pantone Color of the Year. Seen at Kubota Gardens in Seattle, it might be Iris ensata ‘Variegata.’

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Next year’s Pantone Color of the Year was just announced: “Very Peri” is its name and 17-3938 is its number. You’re forgiven if that doesn’t tell you much! You can see it here, on Pantone’s website, where you can also buy a mug or a keychain in Very Peri. To me, it’s a medium blue with enough red to push it slightly toward purple. Like in 2021, Pantone’s color choice seems to reflect the prevailing uncertainty of our world, this time with the thought that we all need courage and creativity. Pantone says, “Encompassing the qualities of the blues, yet at the same time possessing a violet-red undertone, PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri displays a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression.”

Intrigued by the Very Periesque (Very Perish? No!) images that Mark Graf and Alex Kunz found in their archives, I scrolled through files going back ten years and came up with a bouquet of images that move in and out and around the color of the year, Very Peri. Enjoy!

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2. Iris laevigata ‘Variegata’ at Bellevue Botanical Garden, Bellevue, Washington.
3. Another iris – either Iris sibirica ‘Blue King’ or I. sibirica ‘Ahrtalwein. Also seen at Bellevue Botanical Garden.
4. Anemone coronaria in a window box on a sidewalk in Edison, Washington.
5. Another sidewalk flowerbox, this time with pansies, somewhere in New Jersey.
6. These Periwinkle flowers (Vinca minor) were growing wild under a building in the ghost town of Helena, California. This could be where the name Very Peri came from.

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8. A Pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris) at Bellevue Botanical Garden.
9. Delphiniums are pushed against a thick plastic sheet that’s used to keep out the cold at the flower market at Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.
10.
11.

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13. Wild Common camas (Camassia quamash) with Death camas (Toxicoscordion venenosum) and buttercups in a meadow at Washington Park,
14. Serbian bellflower (Campanula poscharskyana) growing with an unidentified tree at Center for Urban Horticulture, Seattle, Washington.
15. This photo was made in 2004 with my first digital camera, a Sony Mavica. I dug this little Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa lucilaea) from the lawn in front of my house so it wouldn’t be destroyed when the grass was mowed.

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Feel free to join in and post your own interpretation of the 2022 Color of the Year. I’d love to see it.

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67 comments

  1. All of these photos are beautiful, and the number 1 Iris is sublime. And I really like number 15 that was captured with your Sony back in the day. Some photos taken with early-gen digital gear have aged well. One photo on my blog was taken with my teenage daughter’s first-gen entry-level Kodak EasyShare nearly two decades ago and nobody has a clue. Anyway gorgeous Pantone-related images!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s true, the “best” images aren’t always those made with the most up-to-date equipment. It’s nice to hear that you felt that the last photo aged well. ๐Ÿ™‚ We get caught up in thinking we need perfectly focused images but there’s much more to aesthetics than that. Thanks for your thoughts, Babsje, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome and I’m glad you included that image from your earlier days. I agree with what you say – there’s much more to aesthetics than that. I hope your Sunday is lovely, too.

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  2. I once asked an artist about colours in prints.
    In an exhibition 2004 of works of Hopper in Cologne i noticed that his Opera pictures had a dark blue which you couldn’t find in several books with These pictures.
    The artist told me that the American System cant be translated proberly in european colourcodes.
    Anyway…this was the first time i learned that the catalogues are doing wrong. Hopper used colours very specificly. You have to go to exhibitions!!

    Dont know if this fits to your post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It all fits…I guess there are many things that can make colors appear differently or make a color impossible to duplicate. Seeing any art in person is always so different from looking at reproductions. I’m very grateful that I saw so much art in northern Europe when I was there. With Hopper, I think you’re talking about paintings, not prints. Maybe the blue pigment he used can still be purchased or maybe he did something special and it can’t be duplicated. Pantone doesn’t make pigments, but they make a system that helps people – mostly designers, not artists – communicate very precisely about particular colors. Anyway, I’m not surprised that American and European printers might be using different color systems.

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  3. Wow! That turned out to be a very productive exercise for you! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m very fond of the Delphiniums against plastic – photographing them is your thing and what makes your artistic eye so special. I had to smile when I saw the photo of the Periwinkle because I too was wondering whether that’s the origin of “Very Peri”. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Good to hear from you, Alex, thank you. The “Delphs” and others against the plastic are some of my favorite images, never to be replicated. The market took all the wonderfully scratched plastic sheeting down years ago. Oh well, such is life. I’m glad I did what I did with what was there. And the Periwinkle – what a lucky break to have that photo, and from such an odd place – a true ghost town in northern CA. I’m really glad you responded to Mark’s post, it helped push me. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. Wonderful post, Lynn. Excellent background info about the color of the year- it’s always fun to see what’s picked (I didn’t know you could look ahead!) I was completely immersed in your Very Peris. The first image is fabulous – I thought it was an image of a painting. Really stunning with the movement in the leaves and the irises dancing on the top. I love the exaggerated composition and complementary colors in #4. Your colorful impressions are wonderful and your textured plastic with flowers are interesting. Love your final “rescue” shot! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ’œ

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    • I was thinking that the first image is a little reminiscent of a famous Japanese screen, a favorite piece of art for many years. You probably have seen it:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irises_screen
      Glad you enjoyed the little “rescue” flower with its bulb intact and the happy flower box in Edison, a town you would probably enjoy. (You can’t really look ahead – I think Pantone announces the next year’s color each December). Here’s to regular color immersions! Maybe I should try another one someday. You certainly should. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Another fascinating post, Lynn. I was never really much of a PMS, or for that matter CMYK or HSI, navigator of the colour space – RGB hex codes were more my thing – at least with those you have a chance of visualising the colour given it code (for screens anyway).

    Love irises, so #3 works very nicely for me. And, of course, your impressionistic triptych (#7) deffo hits the spot. I am getting a bit of a nostalgic, neoclacissist vibe from #10.

    All wonderful.

    ๐Ÿ”ด๐ŸŸข๐Ÿ”ต

    โœจ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ•‰๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒณ๐ŸŒป๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ•Šโ˜ฏ๐Ÿ‰โœจ

    Liked by 2 people

    • You know coding is far, far from my area of expertise (which would be what, I wonder?) but I think I know what you’re saying. And irises! They come in so many beautiful, saturated colors and take many graceful forms, how could you not love them? Is there a chance that a mandala could be made from the triptych, or does the lack of definition make that unlikely? The neoclassical vibe you get from #10 is something that I see in most of that series, some more than others. I’m glad you mentioned that. Cheers!

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  6. Personally, it’s one of the colors that captivates me the least. I don’t like purple and a little lilac I hope that doesn’t influence my year…
    Only in nature and in flowers I appreciate it, such as flowering jacarandas… and in those beautiful photos that Lynn shares today!
    I would say that it is a color that very rarely enters my “pantone”…
    I wish you a good Sunday!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You hope that doesn’t influence your year – you made me laugh, Dulce. Don’t worry, I’m sure it won’t if you don’t want it to! I love blue but I don’t like the kind of violet or purple that has lots of red in it. We all have our likes and dislikes and that keeps the world interesting. I think you are partial to greens, is that right? Maybe I will do a post that immerses us in green. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for being honest, I really appreciate that!

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  7. You have some wonderful and amazing examples of this color Lynn, I am glad you chose to sort through them and post about it! Now that you mention it, I do recall long ago seeing color swatches that were like you describe in the feeling of them on paper, but I don’t recall if it was an official Pantone swatch book or not.

    On a tech note, I don’t know why your link trackback didn’t appear automatically for me to approve as Alex’s did. Maybe I will have to go in and add it manually.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the impetus, Mark, it was just what I needed to get out of the December rut of damp darkness. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m not clear on the ins and outs of links and trackbacks but we’ve stumbled through well enough. Thank you for doing such a nice job of adding Alex, Linda, and me to your post – a heading and bullets, excellent! ๐Ÿ™‚ Your whole post is attractive and professional-looking, as usual. This has been fun!

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  8. Pingback: These Flowers are Very Peri | Alexander S. Kunz Photography

  9. As soon as I read Very Peri I thought periwinkle. All of these are so gorgeous Lynn. At first I thought #7 for the win! But then I saw #10 and #11. So these three are my faves. Thanks for all this loveliness as I sit at the airport waiting for a delayed flight.
    Alison

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your enthusiasm never falls on deaf ears, Alison, thank you so much. This was really fun to do and I can imagine that if you could ferret them out of your files (it’s hard when you haven’t keyworded for colors, which I don’t do) I’m sure you could make a gorgeous post in this color. Think about it! And meanwhile, I will think about revisiting the series that #10 & #11 came from. I could rework a number of photos from that day….

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  10. I used one of those swatch books and still have it. Half the book was the ink color on uncoated paper and then the other half was coated. We’d fix them to out paste ups to let the printer know what color to mix … usually for one or two-color printing. That kind of printing is rare in this digital age when full-color is more affordable but companies needing to match corporate colors still use PMS. I remember those drawers at the art supply store with the sheets of Pantone paper too. Boy the computer sure changed graphic design. These are gorgeous images in all shades of purple. I especially love your #7 abstract triptych!!!

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  11. I like your spelling of my last name better than mine. I also like the information you include in your blog about Pantone. For a while they had a free newsletter (pre-internet) about color to which I subscribed. Was sorry to see it discontinued. I took a continuing ed class about color in, I think, 1965 in which we also used paper swatches, but I donโ€™t know if they were Pantoneโ€™s. They also had a matte texture, as if the paper were painted. Years later, when I got into publishing, I relished those long skinny Pantone color swatch books that printers gave us to specify printing-ink colors. I probably still have one someplace around here. The veining of your anemone seems tender, but I canโ€™t say why I think this. I like the contrast of the soft flowers with the hard-edge city street. Your special skill with selective focus makes all your flower photos sing. I love love love your impressionistic blurred images of flowers. Who but you would think to make a photograph of flowers pushed against a thick plastic sheet? You make it work wonderfully. Even though I know the plants are growing from the bottom up in #14, the feeling is that they are spilling from between the tree. Lovely. All in all this was another pleasant trip in your world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oops, sorry! I bet the swatches you used in that class were from Pantone. There probably weren’t very many alternatives and that matte texture was really distinctive. Denise (above) remembers them too and still has one; Mark may also have used them. Oh, these odd threads that connect us, most of which we will never know about. I like what you said about selective focus, thank you. The blurred images – I should do more sometime. They feel like a panacea right now. The Pike Place flower market photos were really exciting to make. I knew I was onto something that day, it was such a pleasure! And what you see in #14 is, of course, what I loved about those little Bellflowers. That was some first-rate gardening, to put those flowers there. THanks for being here, Linda, I’ve missed you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • No need to be sorry; I was teasing you. I still have scraps of my swatches and my assignments. The class used examples of Josef Albers’s squares. Of all the classes I’ve ever taken in my life, that one may be the most vivid in my memory, probably because I’ve looked at my assignments so many times. Maybe the principle that has stuck with me the most is that any color can go with any color; much relies on the placing and relative proportions of each. I’ve often wondered where the instructor got those swatches. Thanks for clearing that up.

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  12. A big jump from your last post to this one, but I like to jump with you, dear Lynn, because colors are part of what life is all about. Not only in terms of beauty, in the plant and animal world they have existential meaning that you keep showing, also here.

    You write “how these trends reflect the psychology of our times”, and that is exactly what has interested me since the days of Pop Art and Flower Power. More precisely, when fashion began to combine colors like yellow, orange, pink and purple in a single fabric pattern, from which I had learned that they could not be combined in one outfit at all.

    This is not about good or bad taste, but about the expression of psychological states and social, common mood. And here again I notice with a certain dismay how strongly I, who I see as an autonomous individual, fit into the great river with a certain amount of consent.

    After the two years of the pandemic, we probably have a great need for gentle, conciliatory harmony and invigorating creativity, which I find expressed in this blue. I am not surprised that your archive was very productive on this, and I am tempted to do a little research on my own. Your photos are once again the greatest pleasure, I especially like the blurred shots in number 7, and the Delphinium in number 9,10,12 anyway! How nice that you also have a Camassia here, of which I buried about 50 bulbs all over the garden a year ago.

    By the way: a large number of my favorite flowers are adorned with the color of the year 2022

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re right, this one and the last are poles apart. Thanks for taking the plunge. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It would be fun to have a conversation about color and fashion in person because I’m not quite sure what you mean exactly but it interests me.
      Your remark about the “great river” of human feelings that we all swim in, one way or another, more or less in the middle, more or less across the grain or slower or faster…nice. Interesting. Yes, you and I like to think of ourselves as creative, unique individuals, which we are, but we still go along with certain trends, fashions, etc. Which is OK of course.
      I think the blurred photos look better as a triptych than alone. That was a good discovery to make as I was putting this together…thanks, WP. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      Delphiniums – they are such a luxurious flower! .And the Camassia – did you know that our C. quamash was an important food for indigenous people? They dug the bulbs. It was tricky because they often grow beside a poisonous flower with a similar-looking small bulb. The tribes had to carefully mark the plants so they could dig them safely after the flowers were gone. Then the bulbs were roasted, kind of like potatoes. Thank you, Ule, I’m glad you enjoyed the color immersion. You should do one, too!

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      • Highly interesting what you tell about indigenous people eating Camassia. I think I won’t try this and prefer having more and more blooming plants in the garden.
        As to color and fashion … there must be an old photo … I’ll send it to you if I find it ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Lovely Veri Peri shots. I particularly like the impressionistic ones. Would be fun to be a fly on the wall during the annual Pantone color of the year meeting. โ€œOK everyone, itโ€™s that time of year againโ€ฆโ€ฆโ€

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Wonderful collection of photographs, Lynn. “Purple Iris” has been a favorite flower of mine since I was a little kid so I think Pantone picked a good one this year. ๐Ÿ™‚ I like the range you show, from the deep color of 3,4,and 5 to the softer color of 10 and 11.

    The appliance manufacturer I worked for watched the color trends very closely. When it was sold, some of the last work I did before they “let me go” was to help clean out the engineering laboratories. We found a large cabinet of little drawers full of color samples, all filed in numerical order. I assume they were Pantone colors although I don’t remember the details…so much history being discarded.

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    • Do you grow irises? I love them, too. It’s great to hear that this post hit the mark for you. The good thing about not being a Pantone employee but just a “free agent” is that I could show that range you talk about, from the more saturated versions to the softer ones. What an interesting story about the appliance business you worked for – I’d love to see a photo of those drawers. Probably not something you were at liberty to do or had the time to do. But you have the memory, so thanks for sharing it.

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      • My spouse has them planted around; she has blue and yellow irises around our pond. I know from my limited exposure that Pantone colors are very specific…I wondered how many your photographs actually span.

        Yes, I would have loved to have done some photography in that old building. The company was always “sensitive” to photography but it was a really interesting old place.

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  15. We’ve got Pantone swatch books in our design department at the store where I work but I have never paid them much attention. You, on the other hand, have got Very Peri covered in so many delightful and beautiful ways, Lynn. Pantone should be linking back to your page. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  16. Thanks Lynn; I wouldn’t have known about the Pantone color of the year. I like the idea of showing this color as it appeared to you in nature. I love shots 10 and 11 most likely because the dirty glass provides dreaminess.. Enjoy โ€œVery Periโ€ 17-3938 in 2022!

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    • Thanks, Harrie. Taking photographs through dirty or foggy glass or plastic has become one of my favorite things to do. I don’t have the opportunity very often but when I do, I get very excited. The Color of the Year is a commercial event but who cares? I don’t depend on it and I had fun with it. I’m glad you enjoyed it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  17. Pingback: Neue Farbe – Neues Jahr – Ule Rolff

  18. Pingback: Mandala #302 – Very Peri Impressionism – Mandala Vihara

  19. Fun! Although I’m an artist and definitely know Pantone, I didn’t know they had an associative color of the year. I love this year’s color and your beautiful sampling of images containing it. Very cheerful on this very grey weather day!

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