A Tale of Two Colours

Pantone's Colours for 2021!

It’s May and I feel a renewed sense of hope and optimism that we’re heading in the right direction as people get vaccinated and our communities begin to emerge from their homes into the warmth of the summer sun.

It’s been a tumultuous year and the times certainly do seem to be changing and as if often the case, we find that interior design and use of colour begins to reflect things that the larger community see as important and worthy of focus. This year is no exception.

For 2021, Pantone took the unusual step of naming two very different shades as their colours of the year: a bright yellow (Illuminating 13-0647) and a light grey (Ultimate Gray 17-5104). I both love the decision and what Pantone had to say about their choices:

“The selection of two independent colors highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one color or one person, it’s about more than one.”

And while some may poo-poo the idea that this decision means anything at all, historically, colour has played a huge role in branding, cultural, political, religious, and social movements, not to mention its affects on our emotions and state of mind.

There is a certain practicality to the continuation of incorporating grey into design, décor and fashion, dovetailing off the hot trend towards (and arguably overuse of) all varieties of grey for the past 5 years. Pantone is not leading a seismic shift or a left turn away from what people have recently gravitated to (a potential nod to eco-sensitive ideas of re-using what we currently have), but instead are encouraging the integration of a new, livelier and more vibrant colour into existing environments that have been devoid of colour for quite some time.

I believe that the decision reflects an overall cultural shift that much of the global community is currently experiencing, where diversity and individuality are important and celebrated. I love the notion that one need not be relegated to being one thing or another, that both elements of steely-strength and bright optimism can be relevant, practical and beautiful all at once. Truly, opposites can work together, and while grey and yellow are technically not opposites on the colour wheel, they are certainly opposites in what they convey and the role they play in the environment.

On a more practical level, I’m equally excited to see my preference for incorporating gold and grey (stainless steel, metal of all kinds) into the same colour palette, allowing for a broader range of accent colours to be introduced into our homes and workspaces.

Interesting, that grey, a colour often associated with strength and work or perhaps even middle-ground (neither black nor white) and yellow, a cheery, hopeful, sunny colour are combined to create balance and show how two individuals can work together to enhance and highlight each other. Aspirational it could be said, as we look forward to a time when work, individuality, family life and power structures are all being redefined.

Cheers to Pantone! Nice selection!


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