Yellow and Grey – Pantone 2021

Every year in December, the Pantone Color Institute selects the “Color of the Year”, influencing a wide branch of industries with this decision. This years’ champions are surprisingly two colours – Ultimate Gray and Yellow Illuminating.

Pantone Color 2021

Header image by Pantone

Every year on the first days of December, The Pantone Color Institute announces the new “Color of the Year”. An exciting time for all who work with colours. For more than 20 years, Pantone “Color of the Year” has had a significant impact on product development and purchasing decisions across a wide range of industries, including fashion, furniture and industrial design, as well as product, packaging and graphic design. And this year the experts have revealed not one, but two hues for its “Color of the Year”: the neutral Ultimate Gray and vibrant Yellow Illuminating.

Finding The “Color of The Year“

The Pantone Color Institute is the business unit within Pantone that highlights the top seasonal runway colours selects the “Pantone Color of the Year”, forecasts global colour trends, and advises companies on colour for product and brand’s visual identity. Through seasonal trend forecasts, colour psychology, and colour consulting, Pantone Color Institute provides partners with global brands to effectively leverage the power, psychology, and emotion of colour in their design strategy.

The selection process for the “Pantone Color of the Year” requires careful consideration and trend analysis. That’s why each year, Pantone Color Institute colour experts look for new colour influences around the world before selecting the “Color of the Year”. In their analyses, they consider colour trends in entertainment and film, art collections and works by new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, and new lifestyles, playstyles as well as socioeconomic environments, among others. Influences can also come from new technologies, materials, textures and effects that affect colours. Social media platforms and even upcoming sporting events with global reach can also help to shape colour trends.

Why Ultimate Grey and Yellow Illuminating?

It’s the first time an achromatic shade (gray) has been selected, and the second time two colours have been chosen. In 2016, the pale pink and blue hues, Rose Quartz and Serenity, broke the norm when they were presented as a gradient.

Pantone selecting two colours might be seen as making its bets depending on how 2021 unfolds. The Pantone team wants people to consider the colours‘ impact as a unified pair, hinting at the importance of solidarity in the coming year.

„Two extremely independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express this message of strength and hopefulness,“ said PCI Vice President Laurie Pressman. „It’s a combination that speaks to the resilience, the optimism and hope and positivity that we need, as we reset, renew, reimagine and reinvent.”

According to several studies, yellow is related to emotions like joy and happiness. 

Blue shades for example have made several appearances over the past two decades, but the only other time an optimistic yellow hue has been selected was during another widespread economic crisis. For 2009, Pantone chose the lively Mimosa, projecting a sense of hope as the Great Recession of 2008 rocked North and South America and Europe.

They grey is indeed a little bit more complicated to interpret. Although it’s often linked with negative emotions like sadness and fear, it also stands for fortitude and reliability. So in times of a global pandemic it should be more seen as the protective rock. 

What is your personal favourite Patone colour and why? Leave us a comment below!