In Strength & Positivity – Pantone Colours of the Year 2021

In Strength & Positivity – Pantone Colours of the Year 2021

As a creative university, we always pay attention to the next Pantone Colour of the Year, itching to see how our student & staff makers & creators include it in their work. This year, we were especially intrigued by the chosen colours.

Graphics Course Leader Martin Schooley shares his thoughts on the grey and yellow picked to represent “strength and positivity”. 

If only we could accurately predict the future, perhaps 2020 would not have been the year that it has been.

Pantone have recently announced their colour for 2021 in what has become their annual colour prediction for the year ahead.

However, for 2021, they have chosen two colours, and working as I do at Norwich University of the Arts, I feel that we must surely be way ahead of the game because Pantone’s two colours, a grey and a yellow, are the brand colours of NUA, albeit slightly different versions of both.

“Pantone say that their decision to pick two colours is to represent a “union of strength and positivity”, undoubtedly something we all need as we face the future.”

Martin Schooley

Pantone say that their decision to pick two colours is to represent a “union of strength and positivity”, undoubtedly something we all need as we face the future. And so to the colours: Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray, and Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating (a bright yellow); these two colours representing perhaps the gloomy year we have just had and the hopeful and positive light at the end of the tunnel.

Image: Pantone Instagram feed

In choosing a colour for the year ahead, Pantone try to predict the vibe and trend of the times (no easy task) and this pairing I think works very well, and not just because NUA’s own brand is so similar. Personally, I don’t think that grey is a gloomy colour.

It has this reputation, but it is unfair. Grey is seen by some as neither one colour nor another; neither black nor white. It is sometimes seen as dull. But I disagree: grey is cool, it is exciting and strong, without being as shouty and in-your-face as other solid colours. It is respectable, confident and calm. Yellow, and the particular yellow chosen by Pantone, is without question optimistic and sunny.

The pair of colours feels like an apt metaphor for the future; strength in numbers, collaboration, and the idea of two very different things working well together in harmony.

If ever we needed these thoughts, it is surely now. I also note with some delight that these two colours are nowhere near each other in the Pantone book, and so they are appropriately socially distanced. But let’s be honest – don’t they look great together…?

All images credit to Pantone