Inspired by the surge in COVID-19 cases across the United States, we at Pantone are disappointed to introduce our 2022 color of the year: Horrible Purple.
As people search for hope in a world of uncertainty, we looked for a color that would illuminate the way forward with optimism. Instead, we found Horrible Purple.
Horrible Purple is a visual symbol of how far we have not come in combating COVID-19. It’s the color the New York Times’ COVID-19 heat map turns when cases are so astronomically high they can no longer be measured by a mere God-Awful Red.
We believe color is a powerful way to communicate. In previous years, our color selections have represented strength, positivity, comfort, and warmth. Horrible Purple features inflamed violet undertones that express anxiety and danger. And yet it also has a resolute presence, which reflects that no matter how much you want this to be over, it’s never, ever going to be.
For over twenty years, our selection process for the color of the year has been rigorous. We’re committed to thoughtfully analyzing color trends from a broad spectrum of inspiring influences, from the costumes at the Met Gala to the biodiversity in the Great Barrier Reef. But then the Omicron variant hit and we said fuck it, who gives a shit, and instead spent three weeks staring at the New York Times’ COVID-19 heat map, which became our toxic muse.
“We initially thought our color of the year was going to be Terrifying Burgundy,” says Pantone color expert Benoit Villeneuve. “But then one day we refreshed the heatmap, and there it was: Horrible Purple had broken out across the country. We knew we had to change everything to accommodate this new and sickening shade of old scab and rotten jelly.”
“It’s the perfect hue for 2022, which we predict will soon be everywhere,” adds Vice President of Marketing Shannon McMurphy. “Fuck.”
Pantone is dedicated to finding the colors that reflect the moment. But please believe us when we say we really wanted to bring you an actually good color this year. We had a powder blue swatch earmarked, Hopeful Sky, which was so lovely. We hope you get to see it next year instead of the current odds-on favorite, Holy Fucking Shit Plum.