Pantone Colors 2021
As 2020 nears its tumultuous end, the Pantone Color Institute has taken up its annual task of forecasting the color that will best reflect the year ahead.
And, in a decision befitting a complex time, the color authority -- which standardizes swatches for the design industry -- has revealed not one, but two hues for its Color of the Year: the neutral Ultimate Gray and vibrant yellow Illuminating.
Though Pantone selecting two colors might be seen as hedging its bets -- a gray or yellow, depending on how 2021 unfolds -- Pressman and Eiseman want people to consider the colors' impact as a unified pair, hinting at the importance of solidarity in the coming year.
Pantone's Color of the Year reflects color trends in fashion, beauty, design and home decor, and since the beginning, the initiative has also served as a mood ring of sorts, selecting the hues capturing the spirit of the time. In years with undercurrents of uncertainty -- such as 2020's global pandemic -- that has often meant choosing colors that are meant to soothe, calm or uplift.
According to Pantone's press statement, Illuminating is associated with optimism and vivacity, while Ultimate Gray encourages "feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience."
In her own research into color associations, Eiseman has found that yellow is often associated with "cheer" and "happiness," due to its correlation with the sun.