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Color of the Year Announced for 2021

In a break from tradition, Pantone has announced not one but two colors of the year for 2021. Which did they choose?

It's that time of the year again when Pantone, the worldwide standard for color communication, has decided which color will be especially important for the coming year. With 2020 being full of so many unprecedented events, it comes as no surprise that Pantone has also decided to do things a little differently this year too. For 2021, PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating will both carry the label of color of the year.

I think the message of two independent colors that highlight how different elements can come together to support one another is a great tone (excuse the color pun) to start the new year. For us photographers, the announcement of two colors gives us twice as many opportunities to get creative than in previous years. I'm sure we will see plenty of people trying to combine these new colors with lighting and gels in interesting ways.

While many may think declaring a color of the year is just a marketing ploy by the company, Pantone does do their homework when it comes to trend analysis to work out what to choose. I personally think it's a good idea to know what colors are picked each year so you can decide if you want to embrace or run a mile from them. Art directors, designers, or commercial clients have always been impressed that I even knew there was a color of the year. I'm excited by today's announcement and will be looking at how I can work the new shades into my upcoming marketing material.

Will you be using any of the new colors of the year in 2021? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Lead image by Magda Ehlers, used under Creative Commons.  

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14 Comments

Joe Hogan's picture

I think that they should just stick to making Christmas cakes in Italy.

Andrea Re Depaolini's picture

I'm Italian and it took me a while to get this...

Joe Hogan's picture

Grazie mile Andrea.... jijijijijiji ..... I couldn't resist.

Timothy Gasper's picture

I'm here to post a comment.......wait, wait.
"Color of the Year....."???
No, no I'm not.

Tony Wu's picture

Thank goodness they announced it. I was worried sick.

S M's picture

I need some Inspired Shots in my life

David Smith's picture

And here I always thought grey cards weren’t supposed to be in the shot. And a dull yellow to go with it.

Deleted Account's picture

Does this have anything to do with the grey market products?

TJ Weisenberger II's picture

I will use yellow and grey in 2021. I think it would be hard not to. They claim to be the global authority on color? With only 10million customers.

Charles Mercier's picture

I much prefer that meme that chose sh*t brown as the color of the year!

paul aparycki's picture

I like black . . . because it contains all colours.

But I like white . . . because it contains all colours.

Oh shit! I have just started a conspiracy, a movement. Dammit.

I take it back. I like pink ;-)

Charles Mercier's picture

Haha.

(For those who don't know, white is all colors light and black is all colors pigment.)

Timothy Gasper's picture

I would say the same thing except for one little detail.....black and white are not colors. They are intensities of light and dark, but you already knew that...yes? As for what Mr. Mercier pointed out.....bringing all colors of light together will make white whereas mixing all pigments of color creates black. Interesting how that works.

Michelle Maani's picture

Pfft...no.