Pantone’s 2021 Colours of the Year, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating

Guest Post by Julie Brown-Hallman

Last year I was completely unimpressed when Classic Blue was chosen as colour of the year (and yet, now seems so fitting…). THIS year I’m the complete opposite, and give you Ultimate Gray and Illuminating.

I was surprised – not only that two colours were chosen – but also how striking these colours are together. The combination of cheerful yellow and dependable grey is so optimistic and bright that it caught me off-guard. They’re certainly spot-on for 2021 and, “… is a color combination that gives resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.” (Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute).

As for design, this colour combination is one of the most highly visual and eye-catching, second only to yellow and black (think No Name brand). It would be a memorable choice for a brand identity, if it suited your business. A strategy would need to be implemented though, since Illuminating yellow wouldn’t pass digital accessibility rules as a font colour. It could be put to use in blocks or to enhance photos.

In closing, colour me impressed, Pantone.

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