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In an effort to blend the futuristic with the warm and fuzzy, Pantone announced Veri Peri as its 2022 color of the year.

Pantone describes the purplish hue as a dynamic periwinkle blue with violet-red undertones. Veri Peri blends the faithfulness and constancy of blue with the energy and excitement of red, said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. "This happiest and warmest of all blue hues introduces an empowering mix of newness," she said.

This is the 23rd time Pantone has announced a color of the year, when Pantone's color experts reach into their vast swatch library to select a color that will illustrate how the world is evolving. But for 2022, Pantone mixed up a new hue. The Carlstadt, New Jersey-based color experts are confident Veri Peri will color our clothes, our hair, cars and coffeemakers as well as the wallpaper in our homes and on our sleeping computers.

"The challenges we are facing have not only led us to reframe our cultural values, but we are rewriting our lives," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "It just seemed right that we create a new color. Veri Peri is a reflection of our will and determination to find alternative solutions. It's a symbol of the global zeitgeist in this moment of transition."

In a Pantone-hosted webinar, Pressman likened the saturated metallic to the metaverse — not Mark Zuckerberg's, but the world that links our real lives with our digital ones. Pantone worked with Microsoft Teams to create a collection of wallpapers for its Windows users.

"Its courageous presence encourages personal inventiveness," Pressman said. "As we emerge from an intense period of isolation, our notions and standards are changing." Veri Peri is illuminating, she said. It represents strength, optimism, new ideas and new projects. "It speaks to the small, everyday actions that are creating massive global change," she added.

Wallpaper by Wallsauce showing the Pantone Colors of the Year for 2021.
Wallpaper by Wallsauce showing the Pantone Colors of the Year for 2021.

Provided

Pantone selected two colors for 2021: a steely Ultimate Gray and a sunny yellow it named Illuminating. Together these two colors were spirit-lifters, representing hope in a stormy world.

Color enthusiasts may say Pantone's 2022 choice is been there, done that. Of Pantone's 23 colors of the year, 10 are in the blue/purple family. Pantone's first color of the year, back in 2000, was Cerulean. And in the years Pantone ran rogue with pink, in 2001 with Fuchsia Rose and in 2011 with Honeysuckle, those rosy shades skewed blue.

"We feel that at a time like this people want something that's familiar," Eiseman said. So yes, Veri Peri is a part of Pantone's beloved blue family, she said. "It's a blue and the red is just an undertone. This is not a tranquilizing blue. It's not a quiet blue. It's a blue that has presence."

Pantone 18-2120 Honeysuckle, the 2011 color of the year.
Pantone 18-2120 Honeysuckle, the 2011 color of the year.

Business Wire via AP file

Where are the fiery reds and oranges that show compassion and shake up the status quo?

We aren't there yet, cautions Eiseman. We are in a moment of transition. Veri Peri is flexible. You can wear it at a cocktail party, and it works in sportswear. It's splattered throughout decor, especially in restaurants. People like eating in peace.

"We selected that color because it feels warm, modern, inviting and timeless," said Mark Wilson, owner of the Wilson's Restaurant & Live Music in Hi-Nella, New Jersey.

And it's a a cool shade of lipstick.

"Periwinkle is so beautiful," said Marcia Vanessa Williams, founder of Conshohocken-based Embellish Beauty. "It adds a bit of romance and mystery to the lips. You can wear the shade alone for pop or tone it down with a violet-based lip-liner."

Color experts went with the name Veri Peri because its cautiously optimistic tone defines the world's mood. Eiseman urges that color nerds — and naysayers — to consider the nuance. To many Veri Peri reads as purple, which is regal. It's also unifying, the mix of blue and red having long symbolized political unity. The blue is soothing. The red is change. And the metallic is mysterious.

"As we examine the unknown and reimagine our lives, we don't know what the future holds," Pressman said. "We are learning to live in the right now. Veri Peri subliminally provides us with the reassurance we need to move ahead and move forward. There may be bitter days in front of us, but we will get to the other side."

Maybe that's when we'll get fiery red orange.