A marriage of strength and hopefulness is the inspiration behind Pantone Color Institute’s 2021 colours of the year. Two shades—‘Ultimate Gray’ and ‘Illuminating’—have been selected, pairing “feelings of thoughtfulness with the optimistic promise of a sunshine-filled day.”
“The selection of two independent colours highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one colour or one person; it’s about more than one,” says Leatrice Eiseman, the institute’s executive director.
When punctured by a touch of neutral ‘Ultimate Gray,’ the bright yellow ‘Illuminating’ shade conveys a message of strength, Pantone says.
The colour of the year was chosen by a group of experts who considered everything from current trends in entertainment, art, design, and travel to socio-economic conditions, new technological developments, and even sporting events.
This year, the group considered how many people are looking “to fortify themselves with energy, clarity, and hope” to overcome continuing uncertainties. The pairing of a bright, cheerful shade with one that is more muted suggests a firm foundation alongside vivacity.
“The union of an enduring ‘Ultimate Gray’ with the vibrant yellow ‘Illuminating’ expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” Eiseman says. “Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a colour combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”
“The Pantone Color of the Year reflects what is taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for that colour can hope to answer,” adds the institute’s vice-president, Laurie Pressman. “As society continues to recognize colour as a critical form of communication and a way to symbolize thoughts and ideas, many designers and brands are embracing the language of color to engage and connect.”