The colors of 2021 will be grey “ultimate grey” and yellow “illuminating”, announced Pantone. It’s all about the messaging. Get ready for a brighter future. There is general agreement on very little in this world, save, perhaps, for one thing: after grey comes yellow or after darkness comes brightness. These two colors represent that state of mind.
PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating, two independent colours that highlight how different elements come together to support one another, best express the mood for Pantone Color of the Year 2021. Practical and rock-solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, the union of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is one of strength and positivity. It is a story of colour that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly.
So it should be a surprise to no one that the prognosticators at Pantone — those trend forecasters who scour the globe for months noting developments in clothing, cars, kitchens, coffee (the stuff that surrounds us) and translate it into a colour they claim will be the dominant shade of the coming year — have chosen, as the colour of the year for 2021 … two colours!
After Living Coral in 2019 and Classic Blue in 2020, this may not be what anyone expected (that might have been “grim black”), but it might be what everyone needs. This is only the second time in the 22 years that Pantone has been choosing the colour of the year that two colours have been selected. The first time was in 2015 when Rose Quartz and Serenity were chosen (which is to say, pink and blue for 2016). That year, the two shades were meant to blend into each other, reflecting the recognition of gender fluidity and social progress. But this year, the two shades are meant to stand on their own, as complementary tones, supporting each other.
To the resilience of grey, Pantone adds the hope of yellow, Illuminating Yellow, Pantone 13-0647. “For most people, yellow means hope, positivity and something to look forward to” – feelings that those responsible for the institute consider being central to facing the new year. In a statement, it reads that the combination of the two tones “is a history of colour that contains deep feelings of thought and the promise of something sunny and friendly”.