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Pantone color of the year 2021: Ultimate Gray & Illuminating

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For many of us who study and follow fashion trends know that Pantone Color Institute is the global authority on color. Every year the global color authority — which standardizes swatches for the design industry — has this time revealed not one, but two hues for its Pantone color of the year 2021: the neutral Ultimate Gray and vibrant yellow Illuminating.

Pantone Color Institute is the business unit within Pantone that highlights the top seasonal runway colors, selects the Pantone Color of the Year, forecasts global color trends, and advises companies on color for product and brand visual identity. Through seasonal trend forecasts, color psychology, and color consulting, Pantone Color Institute partners with global brands to effectively leverage the power, psychology, and emotion of color in their design strategy.

Pantone color of the year

There are various selection processes and factors that contribute towards deciding the Pantone color of the year. This mainly comprises of factors such as: Attentive consideration and trend analysis. This includes watchful eyes on the global entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, playstyles, and socio-economic conditions.

Sometimes these influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact color, relevant social media platforms and even upcoming sporting events that capture worldwide attention.

To explain this further Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute said ”To arrive at the selection each year, Pantone’s color experts at Pantone Color Institute comb the world looking for new color influences. And, in a decision befitting a complex time, “It’s a combination that speaks to the resilience, the optimism and hope and positivity that we need, as we reset, renew, reimagine and reinvent,”

The process in deciding the Pantone color of the year

Pantone’s Color of the Year reflects color trends in fashion, beauty, design and home decor, and since the beginning, the initiative has also served as a mood ring of sorts, selecting the hues capturing the spirit of the time. In years with undercurrents of uncertainty — such as 2020’s global pandemic — that has often meant choosing colors that are meant to soothe, calm or uplift.

What is the significance of the Pantone color of the the year 2021?

  • Illuminating vibrant yellow is associated with optimism and vivacity, while Ultimate Gray encourages “feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience. Yellow is often associated with “cheer” and “happiness,” due to its correlation with the sun.
  • Ultimate Gray, however, is a bit more complicated. Though it was selected for its qualities of fortitude and reliability — it’s the color of stone, and a classic neutral in a wardrobe linked with negative moods like sadness, fear and disappointment.

In a year marked by mass illness and economic anxiety, such a selection isn’t off base. I think (one) thing that’s become abundantly clear during this time…across the world is this deeper understanding of how much we need each other. How our connections to other people, our relationships with other people, give us that emotional support.”

How can you incorporate the Pantone color of the year in your daily life?

Have fun with the Pantone 2021 Color of the Year! Explore different Facebook and Instagram filters that bring Illuminating and Ultimate Gray into your augmented reality, or build and share palettes featuring these colors from the Pantone Connect digital color platform. Colors of the year 2021 are Illuminating Yellow and Ultimate Gray. Illuminating Yellow can be incorporated for the upcoming spring summer season. It can also be used during wedding season for day events.

Tell us what do you think about these two new colors in the comments below.

Story by: Jeremy Cabral

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