Workplace

Periwinkle (yes, the color) is poised to swallow the internet

Pantone hopes its “Very-Peri” color of the year will be a constant in our digital lives, starting with a Microsoft partnership.

A textured image of periwinkle

Pantone’s 2022 Color of the Year is “Very-Peri.”

Image: Pantone

Close your eyes and think about the year ahead. What colors do you see? Maybe it’s sea blue for the beach vacation you’re hoping to have. Or a hazy red, the color you plan to dye your hair. More likely, it’s the color of your computer screen glare, which you’ve been staring at for the past five hours.

The Pantone Color Institute, the forecasting wing of professional color authority Pantone, is charged with analyzing all these colors and narrowing them down to a single color of the year. The company declared 2022 the year of “Very Peri”, a “dynamic periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet red undertone.” It’s the first time Pantone has created a brand new color for color of the year.

“I think people have the idea that we sit in this room once a year around a big table in this beautiful building,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute and color psychologist. “It doesn’t quite work like that. This is a global team of color futurists.”

Very-Peri represents a culture undergoing “transformation,” Pressman said. We’re still reeling from a never-ending pandemic and reckoning with the ways our lives have permanently changed. Particularly, our reliance on digital tools for almost every aspect of life: work, entertainment, retail, communication. Even conversations about a future embodied metaverse are wrapped into this dynamic periwinkle, Pressman said. The color is a blend of blue and red, similar to our blurring physical and digital worlds.

“We’re seeing designers that didn’t have materials because everything was cut off because of the supply chain,” Pressman said. “They’re living in this dynamic virtual world creating all these new color possibilities."

Global team of color futurists aside, the Pantone announcement is, in part, designed to spur sales of clothes, make-up, furniture and (checks notes) Microsoft Teams backgrounds?

That’s right. This year Pantone's focus on technology inspired a partnership with Microsoft, which has introduced Teams backgrounds, Windows wallpapers, a new Edge theme and a PowerPoint template laced with Very Peri. “Here you have a company that’s not only a leader in developing computer software systems and applications, but somebody who can represent our joint vision to help bridge this gap between the physical and digital world,” Pressman said.

A room with accents in Very Peri Very Peri is meant to have an “empowering effect” from its “dependable” blue and “joyous” red undertones, according to Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute and a color psychologist. Image: Pantone

Pantone hopes to see Very Peri embedded throughout the internet — where color can hugely impact one’s experience. It’s easy for tech companies to repeatedly use the same illustrations and colors, leaning toward familiarity and ambiguity. Periwinkle may help bring Microsoft out of a color rut. Pantone partnered with Microsoft because of the company’s large presence in our digital lives, particularly for those working in corporate America. Microsoft’s recognition of Very Peri could reach millions, Pressman said. “We thought this was a great way to embed the power of color in design, because look at who they’re touching,” Pressman said.

Color of the year fits into other ongoing forecasting projects from Pantone, like its "Colour Planner" that puts together palettes biannually. Pressman said the team’s conversations are often frank and profound, taking stock of what life looks like across the globe and how that translates into color. Do our lives make us gravitate toward calming pastels, or flashy pinks? “What's taking place in the culture, and then how does that get expressed into the language of color?” Pressman said. The technical creation of the color requires a lot of back-and-forth between teams and questions about vibrancy or whether a color has enough red.

Pressman emphasized that color always expresses a mood. Very Peri is meant to have an “empowering effect” from its “dependable” blue and “joyous” red undertones. The company regularly conducts consumer color studies, asking participants to look at a color and respond with the first phrase that comes to mind. This is how Pantone verbalizes colors, and tracks our evolving relationships to them. “Color transcends language,” Pressman said. “We can all talk color.”

Climate

A pro-China disinformation campaign is targeting rare earth miners

It’s uncommon for cyber criminals to target private industry. But a new operation has cast doubt on miners looking to gain a foothold in the West in an apparent attempt to protect China’s upper hand in a market that has become increasingly vital.

It is very uncommon for coordinated disinformation operations to target private industry, rather than governments or civil society, a cybersecurity expert says.

Photo: Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Just when we thought the renewable energy supply chains couldn’t get more fraught, a sophisticated disinformation campaign has taken to social media to further complicate things.

Known as Dragonbridge, the campaign has existed for at least three years, but in the last few months it has shifted its focus to target several mining companies “with negative messaging in response to potential or planned rare earths production activities.” It was initially uncovered by cybersecurity firm Mandiant and peddles narratives in the Chinese interest via its network of thousands of fake social media accounts.

Keep Reading Show less
Lisa Martine Jenkins

Lisa Martine Jenkins is a senior reporter at Protocol covering climate. Lisa previously wrote for Morning Consult, Chemical Watch and the Associated Press. Lisa is currently based in Brooklyn, and is originally from the Bay Area. Find her on Twitter ( @l_m_j_) or reach out via email (ljenkins@protocol.com).

Some of the most astounding tech-enabled advances of the next decade, from cutting-edge medical research to urban traffic control and factory floor optimization, will be enabled by a device often smaller than a thumbnail: the memory chip.

While vast amounts of data are created, stored and processed every moment — by some estimates, 2.5 quintillion bytes daily — the insights in that code are unlocked by the memory chips that hold it and transfer it. “Memory will propel the next 10 years into the most transformative years in human history,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, president and CEO of Micron Technology.

Keep Reading Show less
James Daly
James Daly has a deep knowledge of creating brand voice identity, including understanding various audiences and targeting messaging accordingly. He enjoys commissioning, editing, writing, and business development, particularly in launching new ventures and building passionate audiences. Daly has led teams large and small to multiple awards and quantifiable success through a strategy built on teamwork, passion, fact-checking, intelligence, analytics, and audience growth while meeting budget goals and production deadlines in fast-paced environments. Daly is the Editorial Director of 2030 Media and a contributor at Wired.
Fintech

Ripple’s CEO threatens to leave the US if it loses SEC case

CEO Brad Garlinghouse said a few countries have reached out to Ripple about relocating.

"There's no doubt that if the SEC doesn't win their case against us that that is good for crypto in the United States,” Brad Garlinghouse told Protocol.

Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile for Collision via Getty Images

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said the crypto company will move to another country if it loses in its legal battle with the SEC.

Garlinghouse said he’s confident that Ripple will prevail against the federal regulator, which accused the company of failing to register roughly $1.4 billion in XRP tokens as securities.

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.

Policy

The Supreme Court’s EPA ruling is bad news for tech regulation, too

The justices just gave themselves a lot of discretion to smack down agency rules.

The ruling could also endanger work on competition issues by the FTC and net neutrality by the FCC.

Photo: Geoff Livingston/Getty Images

The Supreme Court’s decision last week gutting the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions didn’t just signal the conservative justices’ dislike of the Clean Air Act at a moment of climate crisis. It also served as a warning for anyone that would like to see more regulation of Big Tech.

At the heart of Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision in West Virginia v. EPA was a codification of the “major questions doctrine,” which, he wrote, requires “clear congressional authorization” when agencies want to regulate on areas of great “economic and political significance.”

Keep Reading Show less
Ben Brody

Ben Brody (@ BenBrodyDC) is a senior reporter at Protocol focusing on how Congress, courts and agencies affect the online world we live in. He formerly covered tech policy and lobbying (including antitrust, Section 230 and privacy) at Bloomberg News, where he previously reported on the influence industry, government ethics and the 2016 presidential election. Before that, Ben covered business news at CNNMoney and AdAge, and all manner of stories in and around New York. He still loves appearing on the New York news radio he grew up with.

Enterprise

Microsoft and Google are still using emotion AI, but with limits

Microsoft said accessibility goals overrode problems with emotion recognition and Google offers off-the-shelf emotion recognition technology amid growing concern over the controversial AI.

Emotion recognition is a well-established field of computer vision research; however, AI-based technologies used in an attempt to assess people’s emotional states have moved beyond the research phase.

Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft said last month it would no longer provide general use of an AI-based cloud software feature used to infer people’s emotions. However, despite its own admission that emotion recognition technology creates “risks,” it turns out the company will retain its emotion recognition capability in an app used by people with vision loss.

In fact, amid growing concerns over development and use of controversial emotion recognition in everyday software, both Microsoft and Google continue to incorporate the AI-based features in their products.

“The Seeing AI person channel enables you to recognize people and to get a description of them, including an estimate of their age and also their emotion,” said Saqib Shaikh, a software engineering manager and project lead for Seeing AI at Microsoft who helped build the app, in a tutorial about the product in a 2017 Microsoft video.

Keep Reading Show less
Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

Latest Stories
Bulletins