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Pantone’s Colours of the Year 2021: Spoilt for Choice

The Pantone Colour Institute names two enticing hues as its Colours of the Year 2021.

Following a year of chaos and uncertainty amid a global pandemic, it must not have been an easy job for those at the Pantone Colour Institute to select the colour representing our emergence into 2021. This is perhaps why they settled on two hues, the combination of which hopes to inspire the "need to feel that everything is going to get brighter".

Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating are the chosen shades, coming together to "support one another", as we all so clearly need right now. The "practical and rock solid" soothing grey hue grounds the bright and resilient yellow, exuding strength and positivity, a pairing that "encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly".

Image courtesy of Pantone

Whilst sitting on opposing ends of the colour spectrum, these two strong shades complement one another in their differences, the stoic and dependable grey quietly assuring the sparkling vivacity of its yellow counterpart. This is not the first time that Pantone's Colour of the Year has been named as a duo; in 2016, the Colour Institute pronounced Rose Quartz and Serenity as its choices for the year. However, the pairing seems more significant today, reminding us of the strength in connection and emergence of new ideas through alternative perspectives and innovative partnerships. 

Image courtesy of ArchDaily

Encapsulating the spirit of where the world is, and where we all hope it's going, the two shades are widely used and celebrated in design. In 2020, Canadian-based ADHOC Architectes created a colourful yellow outdoor installation to attract Montreal's citizens following several weeks of confinement in lockdown, perfectly representing Pantone's assertion that the chosen colour will bring us all joy and fortitude in the coming months. 

© Raphael Thibodeau
© Raphael Thibodeau

Grey is often used to ground a room, adding warmth and tone to a neutral space. It is a cornerstone of Scandinavian design, forming the perfect backdrop to a minimalist interior scheme. Conversely, yellow is a popular accent colour, employed in the bold use of decorative accessories, textiles, and statement lighting. Whatever your tastes, each shade offers style and personality to a living space, imbuing your home with warmth and optimism for the year ahead. 

Explore our Ultimate Grey and Illuminating Yellow collections.