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Pantone of the Year 2021

By Marc Baker
Est. Reading: 3 minutes
pantone of the year 2021
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Pantone's famous swatch guide
Pantone's colour swatches as most commonly featured as a supplement guide.

What is Pantone?

Pantone Colour is a colour-matching system which is known and used in many industries such as Graphic Design, Print, and Illustration on top of many others. Each colour in the Pantone system has a unique number and allows an exact value and match for each colour to be printed precisely and accurately. Pantone quotes more than 10 million designers and producers around the world that are using their products and services to “help define, communicate and control colour from inspiration to realisation.”

Introducing Pantone of the Year 2021

It’s that time of the year where keen-eyed artists, illustrators and everyone in-between come together to await the news of the new Pantone of the Year to be announced. In an exciting twist of events, it has been revealed that not only one colour takes the spotlight, but it shares itself with another swatch, giving itself to ‘Colours of the Year’.

It’s a less traditional approach where this hasn’t been seen since Pantone selected two colours in 2016; Rose Quartz and Serenity. It is well believed that these new two shades are matched together to inspire optimism and bring some clarity to the more anxious era we are growing accustomed to.

Chosen by Pantone for 2021

The bright yellow shade, titled Illuminating, is meant to evoke the “optimistic promise of a sunshine-filled day”. Ultimate Grey, is a much quieter, toned-down colour, speaking to people, full of “composure, steadiness and resilience.” Pantone goes on to say “the colour can almost be compared to durable natural elements, like time-weathered pebbles on the beach”. As people all across the world are looking for ways to bring clarity and positivity to what has been the most challenging times in 2020, Pantone is seeking to bring energy and clarity. Something that we all need after the events of 2020. These colours almost feel like the representation of the clean break we all look for sometimes.

Leatrice Eiseman, The Executive Director of Pantone’s Colour Institute, goes on to say… “The unions of an enduring Ultimate Grey 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 is a colour combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.”

Yellow and grey everyday objects
- The idea of both colours are seen in every day objects, to give us that subtle reminder.

My personal thoughts on this years colours...

It’s evident that both elements complement one another and this is why I believe as one tone elevates you, the other naturally provides reassurance, steadiness and is a resilient counter partner to the vibrant swatch of Illuminating Yellow. As a trend itself, I have seen this combination of colour present itself in ways that have been visible through packaging, advertising and many more mediums.

I think what stands out more is that it feels like the majority of 2020 was quite grey and dull, so we could all do with a little more colour and radiance, something coloured which beams light and energy as the sun does, and Illuminating does certainly that.

We'd love to hear from you.

What are your thoughts on the new Pantone Colours of the Year? Do you feel like Pantone have got it right? If you could substitute these two colours for something else, what would your selections be? Please leave us a comment below. Happy 2021!

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