The “cerulean blue monologue” from The Devil Wears Prada will forever live rent-free in my mind. You know, the one where Meryl Streep’s Miranda Priestly succinctly reads Anne Hathaway’s Andy Sachs character for scoffing at the “triviality” of fashion while highlighting the countless designers, editors and visionaries it takes for a simple blue sweater to end up in our closet? Excuse me, cerulean. It’s a cinematic masterpiece and the first thing that pops into my head every time Pantone reveals its color of the year.

The process of picking the color of the year sounds very similar to the series of events Miranda Priestly describes; the color experts at Pantone scour runways, artwork and films for a color that will speak to the general mood of the world for the coming year. Then, in the endless circle of influence, the color is picked up by even more designers and tastemakers and even corporate brands to truly become the omnipresent color of the year.

award statue on a periwinkle backgroundThis year, Pantone chose Very-Perri – a vibrant shade of periwinkle – to define 2022. As Pantone explained to Adweek, they started with a blue base  – a perennial favorite – and then added a “red-violet undertone.” “So, you’ve taken your blue, that steadfast color, and added this excitement, this dynamism,” Pantone executive director Leatrice Eiseman explained.

So where will we be seeing Very-Perri in the coming year? Likely, everywhere. From the fashion industry, who pays particular attention to Pantone’s annual choices, to Microsoft, a long-time partner of Pantone, who will incorporate the hue into their products such as PowerPoint and Windows wallpaper.

The great thing about having a universally rallying color is that brands big or small can take advantage of the intel. We might not all have access to the exact shade of Very-Perri – a brand new and exclusive Pantone shade – but we can all feature vivid periwinkle in our ads and products for the year and benefit from the burst of optimism it’s meant to impart.  

It may seem like arbitrarily naming a color of the year is nothing more than a shameless Pantone publicity stunt and maybe that’s partly true. But maybe it’s also true that style and design are important aspects of our culture that keep life interesting. We can’t all be blithely choosing aesthetics at random and hoping the end result is visually pleasing. In fact, this “stuff” is best left to the professionals.