Strength and positivity combine in Pantone’s picks for 2021 “Color of the Year.” Illuminating, a bright, cheerful yellow, and sturdy, practical Ultimate Gray form a duo that is both hopeful and grounded. Pantone says the combination of the two colors evokes a “message of happiness supported by fortitude.” This marks the second time in the past five years the color experts at Pantone have selected two colors rather than one.
Pantone’s color forecasts tend to be rebukes of the previous year and aspirational resolutions for the year to come. 2017’s Greenery was picked in response to the 2016 presidential election as a call for us to reconnect “[…] with nature, each other and a larger purpose” (that went well…). 2020’s Classic Blue was described as highlighting “[…] our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era,” which reads like a thinly veiled political endorsement. Illuminating and Ultimate Gray continue the trend by both acknowledging what has been an unprecedented year and offering a sliver of hope for what lies ahead. After endless amounts of uncertainty in 2020 stemming from the global pandemic, economic downturn and presidential election, there’s a shred of hope on the horizon in the form of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Illuminating and Ultimate Gray form a combo that looks like guarded optimism, which feels perfectly appropriate for 2021. Good times are on the way, but let’s not forget to stay strong and grounded in the meantime.