Remember when we couldn’t wait for the reveal of Pantone’s Color of the Year? I used to stay up waiting with great anticipation for them to post the announcement. The past few years, I haven’t found it as exciting as it had been in previous years.
In 2019, I was excited by the color but turned off by the name. In 2020, Classic Blue was a little ho-hum but a solid choice even though it didn’t bowl me over. This year my reaction was more challenging to pin down. Even though there was something modern and intriguing about the combination of yellow and gray, the colors seemed a little too predictable. For years, this combination has been associated with mental health.
Colors of Mental Well-Being
The two colors that Pantone selected are the same colors that people chose to represent the extremes of depression and happiness in this study – gray and yellow, respectively. The study results weren’t a surprise for those who know about the perception and meanings of colors.
The message of these two colors is so clear that they are the colors of the Hope for Depression Foundation and the iFred organization founded by my friend, Kathryn Goetzke, to shine a positive light on mental health and other similar groups.
As we have learned this year, depression breeds in isolation as worries about the future eat away at our sense of well-being. (Psychology Today) Perhaps as Pantone says, “two independent colors that highlight how different elements come together to support one another” apply to happiness and depression, too and why the organizations dealing with mental health use this combination of colors to communicate their mission.
PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating
On its own, most of us have positive associations with the color yellow and can relate to Pantone’s description of Illuminating as a color “of strength and positivity. It is a story of color that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly.” Sunny yellow is a warm, uplifting hue. It is hard not to smile when you catch a glimpse of this bright and cheerful hue on a gray, dreary day.
PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray
As for the more positive aspects of Ultimate Gray, I can’t argue with Pantone’s reasoning. Their words are very close to what Kiki Redhead and I wrote in our trends report many years ago when gray was first creeping onto the scene. The ideas still hold true today.
“Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which 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.”
A Timely Choice?
These colors have often been used to give products or packaging a modern edge.
Both colors have been popping up in fashion as Vogue highlights in their article, Did The Runways Predict the 2021 Pantone Color of the Year?
A similar yellow and gray were in the Color Marketing Group forecast we put together for 2020.
These colors also pair nicely with Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year, Classic Blue.
Share Your Thoughts
I want to know what you think of Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2021. Leave a comment below.
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