The Story Behind the 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year is a Message of Hope

The Pantone Color Institute has officially revealed its 2021 Color of the Year—or rather, Colors of the Year—and it seems that Pantone aims to do more than merely dictate the trends of the design industry with them. In fact, the two favored hues, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, were chosen to convey a message of strength and hopefulness amid confusing and dismal times.

“As people look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity, and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty, spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality,” the Institute said. “PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power. PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements that are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colors of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness, and resilience.”

The union of these contrasting colors “best express the mood” of the coming year as a symbol of different elements coming together to support and uplift one another as a show of solidarity at a time when it’s needed the most.

“Emboldening the spirit, the pairing of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 highlights our innate need to be seen, to be visible, to be recognized, to have our voices heard,” they added. “A message of happiness supported by fortitude, the combination of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is aspirational and gives us hope. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit.”

This isn’t the first time Pantone chose two colors for their Pantone Color of the Year. They did so in 2016 with Rose Quartz and Serenity which were presented as a gradient to symbolize mindfulness and gender fluidity.

(ALSO READ: LOOK: Pantone Predicts Fashion Color Trends for Spring and Summer 2021)

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