Pantone’s Colour of the Year has been going for more than 20 years, influencing products across fashion, home furnishings, and industrial design, making the Pantone Color Institute a dominant trend forecaster in the world of art, design, architecture, and fashion.
For the Pantone Colour of the Year selection process, colour experts at the Pantone Colour Institute comb the world looking for new colour influences, from the entertainment industry to fashion, travel destinations and socio-economic conditions. Influences can also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, social media platforms and even upcoming sporting events that capture worldwide attention. Then towards the end of each year, a defining colour for the forthcoming year – better known as the Colour of the Year – is announced, typically in early December.
The colours chosen for the year 2021 are PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating. A shade of grey and a shade of yellow respectively.
The official statement from Pantone, elaboration the choice of two shades said, “Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating, as the Pantone Color of the Year selection for 2021, two independent colours that come together to create an aspirational colour pairing, conjoining deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the optimistic promise of a sunshine-filled day.”
The ambiguity of our times depicted through Pantone’s Ultimate Grey symbolises complexity and depicts “everything that falls in between absolutes”. While instilling uncertainty in the observer, the dispassionate grey can dull most colours it is paired with, hence the choice to couple it with a cheerful hue. The invigorating shade of yellow not only stimulates the nerves but also triggers communication and interaction with the subject it is used on. When paired together, these shades draw the human brain towards them and helps it perceive the subject proactively.
Accurately chosen in these circumstances, this combination of colours represents the desire for relief in exceptionally tough times. Designers and artists are using these colours to express global plight and anticipation, parallelly. The choice is rooted in the bio-cultural and socio-economic condition of the world owing to the global pandemic that has taken over lives like a grey cloud. While the world tries to resume ‘normal’ activities and get back on its feet, a yellow ray of hope seems like a vital crutch in this laborious hour.