The Pantone Color of the Year 2021 represents what we all need after everything that has happened in the world this year so far—strength, hope and positivity—as we look forward to a new year full of promise.
The 2021 Color of the Year is shared by two entirely different shades: Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray, a soothing shade that signifies solid and reliable elements like pebbles on the beach; and Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating, which is a bright and cheerful yellow that reminds one of the warm hues of a vibrant daytime.
It is the second time that the institue named two colors for its Color of the Year, the first one was in 2016 with Rose Quartz and Serenity.
The institute describes this marriage of colors as “both enduring and uplifting that conveys a subtle message of strength and hopefulness,” which is Pantone’s answer to the extraordinary times and uncertainties that the world is facing today.
The combination of the Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray+Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating also highlights how it is in life—even though there is much difference between the two elements, they can impeccably complement one another.
“The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this color is a combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encourage and uplifted; this is essential in the human spirit,” said The Pantone Color Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman.
In an interview with Time, the institute vice president Laurie Pressman said that it is important for them to choose two colors to “reflect the culture of the moment of the time we’re living in,” which was particularly influenced by the pandemic and events like the Black Lives Matter protests.
The pandemic has also reportedly affected the process of selecting this year’s color as researchers, who are usually out and about to gather information on color trends around the world, were grounded due to the health and safety restrictions that are in place. So this year, the New Jersey-based institute relied heavily on online collaborations and local staff worldwide to report on trends.
Banner image and photos from Pantone