We’re going to get two colors of the year for 2021. Ultimate Gray (a mid-range gray somewhere about #939597) and Illuminating (a citrus yellow that’s roughly #F5DF4D) are the colors chosen to grace museum gift shops and end-of-year blog posts.
A colourful marriage that conveys a message of resilience and hope that is both lasting and uplifting.
The last time Pantone chose two colors was Rose Quartz & Serenity in 2016, and we all know what a peaceful, serene year it was so 2021 is likely to set off the curse of an ancient mummy in the universe, or see us colliding with the Sun.
2020’s color, “Classic Blue,” was actually not much of the color of the year unless it happens to be the color you decorated your home office. If the company had real foresight, it would have opted for the softest beige it could findin reality, in the summer paint brand Dulux almost opted for that in 2021, calling “Brave Ground” its color for the next year, but for beige’s “resilient” consistency rather than some lock-down boredom.
Perhaps that’s why Pantone’s PR department opted for two colors in 2021: a nondescribed gray to keep us going until we’re all vaccinated, and a wildly luminous yellow for the latter part of the year.
To be fair to Pantone, its color choices are not, as is sometimes said, predictions, but expectations. Pantone suggests that the pairing “expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” which might be exactly what the world needs right now.
A mixture of colors is much more sensible than a single color, with too much of a context dependent color. But the real color treatment of 2021 is much more likely to be multi-colored gradients.