In SMPL Q+A, we interview our practitioners on all things relevant to branding, design and simplicity. Here, we speak with Design Director, Regina Puno, about the rise of the hot pink hue that has dominated branding and design in 2022. 

How would you describe hot pink’s brand?

Regina Puno: Hot pink is not your average pink. In general, pink evokes femininity, sweetness, romance. But hot pink is a whole emotionally charged color on its own. Sure, it’s still feminine. But it’s a powerful, rebellious, confident, optimistic kind of feminine. Hot pink can be campy, over-the-top, fluorescent. It can be shocking, aggressive, strong. And it can be contemporary and nostalgic all at the same time. In short: hot pink dials up the senses.

Why do you think so many brands are embracing the color?

R.P.: The rise of hot pink and Barbiecore—a trend defined by the always-vibrant hue—is an extension of the nostalgia trend, which we’ve seen many brands embrace in the past few years. Hot pink is a hue that audiences already know, love, and have fond memories of. The onset of the pandemic played a huge role in the rise of nostalgia as a trend, because nostalgia is a portal to “the good old days.” Nostalgia encourages one to escape the unpredictability of the present.

Has the rise of hot pink in branding helped evolve fashion conversation?

R.P.: Absolutely. People might think that fashion is “just a dress” or that hot pink is “just a color.” But hot pink is a statement. And during a time when women’s rights are especially vulnerable, who wouldn’t want to wear the angriest, loudest pink there is?

Pantone predicted that 2022 was going to be the year of periwinkle—yet hot pink took center stage. How seriously do you take those kinds of predictions?

R.P.: Pantone’s “Color of the Year” is a fun exercise that is orchestrated each year by a company best known for its industry-standard in color creation and matching, so we think it will have a lot of influence and prominence in modern culture. But ultimately, it shows up more as a marketing campaign attempting to hype a color through such merchandise as coffee mugs and phone cases. Other such considerations as fashion trends, political developments, and current events have much more of an influence in predicting the true color of the year.

Thanks, Regina!