12 Dec 20 Pantone picks two colours of the year for 2021
Following one of the bleakest years in memory, Pantone has announced its 2021 colour of the year. And it’s not one but two colours, designed to create the sensation of a fresh sunrise over rocky terrain.
Pantone’s Colour of the Year choices are based on the Pantone Color Institute’s research into trends percolating across fashion, interior design, architecture, and art. These are colours you will likely see more of in the next 12 to 24 months because they are meant to define something intrinsic to the zeitgeist.
In 2020 Pantone’s colour of the year choice, Classic Blue, a tame choice meant to counteract the existential anguish of autocratic leaders like Donald Trump and the mass propaganda behind them on platforms like Facebook.. But it proved eerily prescient. Announced weeks before the first Covid-19 cluster was discovered, it is a shade used for medical scrubs around the globe.
For 2021 the US-paint brand’s team of trend forecasters have selected two shades – Ultimate Grey and Illuminating – the second time they have done so in the Colour of the Year’s two decade history.
The colours are called Illuminating, a yellow that appears like the skin of a ripe lemon, and Ultimate Gray, which resembles wet cement.
Alone, a gray would be stagnant and depressing, while a yellow would be overly ebullient. Together, Pantone argues, the pair is meant to be both optimistic and thoughtful.
“We always feel a responsibility to get it right,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.
“[Illuminating] is definitely an aspirational colour, no question,” says Eiseman. “But I think with the solidity of the gray . . . when you juxtapose those colours against each other, the concept is clear, ‘Here’s what we’re hoping for. And this is the solid grounding to get us there.’”….
Their colour of the year choices are often contentious. This year, writes The Guardian, the combination has been likened to the shades of hi-vis vests, road markings and “screaming sickly urban melancholy, a brutalist facade, cold sunshine and cement”. Vogue described it simply as “really weird”.
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