Every year in December, color cataloging service Pantone picks a shade from its expansive archive that it thinks will best represent the overall mood and aesthetic of the upcoming year. For 2020, 'Classic Blue', was named as the color of the year, and it was chosen because of its tranquil, bliss-filled hue that is said to evoke a calming affect on the human spirit. Looking back, the chosen color is incredibly ironic given the year that we've had. Now, for 2021, Pantone has announced not one, but two new hues for its Color of the Year: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating.
In a press release, Pantone described its thought process behind naming the two colors as we head into a year of continued uncertainty and humans seek ways to remain spirited and cheerful. Ultimate Gray symbolizes dependability and a solid, firm foundation while Illuminating, which is a bold, bright yellow, is meant to spark joy and bring cheer. Incredibly poignant for the times in which we are living, the decision to choose two colors highlights how various elements can combine to convey a message. In this case, the pairing is meant to provide a sense of hope and strength.
Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope
Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute described the combination, stating “Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.” Colors, as we know, can evoke feelings and symbolize so much more than what lies on the surface and now more than ever society has embraced color as a form of communication and a way to express oneself. Below we've rounded up over a dozen bags in Pantone's Colors of the Year to help you get ready for 2021.