Have you heard of Very Peri? If you think this is a spicy Mexican dish or a fancy new cocktail, think again. It’s the official color of the year for 2022. Each year, the Pantone Color Institute announces a color of the year, based on its review of trends. This year, he selected Very Peri, which is described as “a vibrant shade of periwinkle blue with energizing purple red undertones”.
Pantone’s New Mix
But there is something else that makes Very Peri extra special. For the very first time, Pantone created a brand new color of the year, rather than using an existing color – last year it used yellow and gray. As the company says, the creation of this new shade symbolizes the “period of unprecedented change” we live in, even as the pandemic enters its third year.
Very Peri is a unique blend of familiar and reliable blue, injected with vibrant purple, which provides her with great energy. Because this year we need both the security of reliability and the boost in energy, as we strive to rewrite our lives and create new possibilities, in the midst of the pandemic.
Soon we may be seeing Very Peri all around us – on fashion clothes, furniture, lipsticks and nail polish, packaging and more. But this unique new color also sparked a question in my mind – if Pantone can invent a new color of the year, have brands invented or owned their own unique colors? In other words, can new colors also be new brand colors? A unique color can provide a distinctive visual identity for the brand, which can facilitate instant recognition by consumers, and also help its products to stand out.
It turns out the answer is yes. Many iconic brands have registered their unique colors. Here are some interesting examples.
Tiffany, one of the best-known jewelry brands in the world, has a unique shade of a medium robin egg blue, commonly known as Tiffany Blue. Cool, aquatic and soft in hues, this beautiful color is used on all of their packaging boxes, bags and promotional materials. Therefore, you can recognize this luxury brand from a kilometer away. Owning or being offered an iconic Tiffany blue jewelry box is now an aspiration in itself. This is a custom shade created by Pantone called “1837 Blue” to mark the year Tiffany was founded. Tiffany Blue is a registered trademark of the company. It has its origins in a blue color chosen by the brand’s founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany, for the cover of the Blue Book, which is Tiffany’s annual catalog.
Most of us in India are familiar with the purple packaging of Cadbury’s Diary Milk. It’s a brand we grew up with, and seeing the delicious purple package in a store often makes our mouths water. Cadbury introduced purple packaging for its chocolate bars in 1914, apparently as a tribute to Queen Victoria. This imperial shade of purple, called Pantone2685C, has now become intrinsic to Cadbury chocolates. In fact, Cadbury uses this color extensively not only in its packaging, but also in its advertising and promotional materials. Color is now synonymous with the brand. I think even a small child will recognize their favorite chocolate by its purple hue, which is a testament to the power of color in visual branding.
The sticky post-it notes we use are mostly a unique canary yellow color. This color was actually chosen by chance, when Post-it Notes were first developed at 3M in 1974.
The lab next door only had yellow scrap paper to spare, so it was used, along with a pressure sensitive adhesive, to create the first Post-its. Since then, this specific color has become so intrinsic to these ratings that the company has registered it for use in office and stationery products. While Post-it Notes have also been developed in other colors over the years, the Canary Yellow Note is clearly the classic, with immediate brand recognition.
Milka is one of the most popular chocolate brands in the world, made with 100% milk from the Alps.
Its unique lilac-purple color packaging was launched in 1901 and it became so famous that the company registered both the logo and this color.
Perhaps to pair well with this color, the Milka cow that appears on this packaging is called Lila and is white with lilac spots. Interestingly, while the Milka lettering was modernized a few years ago and even the cow changed the direction it faces, the lilac color remained unchanged.
It remains one of the most recognizable features of the brand.
These examples highlight an important point.
If you are a marketer, how do you use the visual power of color for your offerings? And, best of all, can you develop a unique color for your brand that can set it apart from all the competition forever? Even though we welcome Very Peri as the color of 2022, it’s an interesting question to think about.
Harish Bhat is the trademark owner, Tata Sons. These are his personal opinions.