The new Purple – Special Edition – 2022 Colour of the Year




Every year, the colour gurus, Pantone, put out their ‘colour of the year’. The company has become a global authority in colour. The Pantone Matching System (PMS), provides a standard of colour sets used in a variety of industries, primarily printing, through to the manufacture of coloured paint, fabric, and plastics. Design, interior and fashion industries wait in anticipation for the colour every year. Once it is announced you will start to notice all things in that colour surface, from coffee cups to bedspreads, phone covers to fashion accessories. In a way the prediction is self serving. Pantone tells us what the colour is, then the industry makes consumer items in that colour. As it’s ‘new kid on the block’ , products in this colour will appear fresh and new. We all want a piece of the action and obediently buy in, sales go up and we end up proving the prediction correct.

The meaning behind the colour selected for each year is intended to be an iconic representation, a reflection of the times we live in and a projection of the focus for the year.

In a time of flux, fraught with pandemic impacts what colour does Pantone say the year of 2022 reflects about our times?



Very Peri – a colour for the future?

Living in an age where predictions on anything have as much respect as a unicorn delivering fairy dust, Pantone has delivered a colour that is just as difficult to define.

It’s called Very Peri. They are saying it’s…

A new Pantone colour whose courageous presence encourages personal inventiveness and creativity.

Wow! That’s a mighty big call Pantone. Packing hope onto a colour is a lot to ask of one hue.

The blurb from Pantone dictates that the colour displays a carefree confidence and a daring curiosity that animates our creative spirit. That the colour helps us to embrace this altered landscape of possibilities, opening us up to a new vision as we rewrite our lives.

This new ‘blue/purple’ derives its name from Periwinkle, a colour in the blue and violet family. Periwinkle or myrtle herb (Vinca minor) is an evergreen ground cover and bears flowers of the same colour. The colour is often referred to as ‘lavender blue’. This pale tint of purple or a “pastel purple” has a myriad of shades.

A softer, calmer shade of purple, it is designed to rekindle gratitude for some of the qualities that blue represents and complement with the red to represent the new perspectives that resonate today. The colour is meant to place a  the possibility of a diplomatic future ahead with a new light.

Whether you agree with this or not, we can agree that ‘we are living in transformative times’. Aiming to get this colour to represent transitional change may be taking it too far, but if the colour is reflective of the growing trends in gaming, the expanding popularity of the metaverse then Very Peri could stand for the fusion of modern life and the digital worlds we now all communicate in.


Just as the impressionists discovered when using purple in their shadows, the colour can change depending on what other colours it is surrounded by. Pantone makes it easy to see how the new colour works.

Firstly they break down the colour for different formats…

You’ll get the marketing merchandise…

Image from Pantone

You will find many new products this year hitting the shelves in the new hue. There’s a focus on active wear and casual accessories. In history’s past any shade of purple was extremely difficult to dye. Developing a uniform and durable hue was revolutionised by William Perkins in 1856 when he discovered the first Synthetic dye and caused a colour sensation in the fabric and fashion industry. No doubt technology has played a part in making this new colour colourfast and light fast too.

Image from Pantone


Pantone also show you a range of options starting with colour variations, lightness and saturation choices. You can see that they range from blues to pinker mauves and into greyer shades.


One of the most useful resources they offer are the colour stories and palette sets. These are useful for stretching your colours in painting or for decorating and co-ordinating. You can even make up your own palettes.


Take it straight from the tube…  use Michael Harding’s Pale Violet (S2).

Or make your own by mixing Phthalo blue and Dioxazine purple and add a bit of white to get that soft mid-tone glow.


This colour and it’s shades can stretch your colour sets. Here I’ve teamed it with some woody earth tones but you can see that the light tones add a luminescent glow. It works equally well in a warm, cool or neutral setting.

Shadowlands. Oil on Canvas. 76 x 76cm.
Original artwork framed and available from Gallery 1111 Artspace and studio.



Not sure if Pantone did much homework on the name???? It only took me a few minutes and a ‘google search’ to find out that Periwinkle was once called the Flower of Death! This plant is a common invader plant throughout most of the United States and to os a native to Europe, where folklore tales refers to it as the “flower of death”. Why?  Because its vines were woven into headbands worn by dead children or criminals on their way to execution. What the??? Is this some strange joke that I don’t get? Why would you make a colour that is associated to death in our covid climate? And is it just me or is that pale blue on our face masks looking more and more like a soft shade of Very Peri?

Purple has had a long association with death. Widows of the past would wear purple when mourning the death of their spouse. During the Procession of the Holy Cross, on Good Friday, men and boys dress in purple robes and hoods as a sign of mourning and symbol of the pain and suffering of Christ’s crucifixion. Many devout Catholics in Brazil also wear purple, alongside black, while mourning the loss of a loved one.

I would have thought Pantone would choose to get as far away from this subject matter as possible? Once you know, no amount of space travel or metaspace digitalisation will delete the association!

Very Peri Face Mask from Red Bubble


Image from Pantone

Whether you love it or hate it, you are sure to see more of Very Peri this year. Aside from all the meaningful context, it’s a chance to go a little softer and calmer this year, and that’s something we can all afford to load up on!


This colour special was written and produced by Visual Artist and Arts Educator, Kristine Ballard on
© Kristine Ballard 2022