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2021 Pantone Color of The Year

It’s Here!

True confession: Every winter, I have a secret little joy.  The announcement of the Pantone Color of the Year!  You all know I’m crazy for color, but what is it, and why should you care?  Read on.

“Pantone Color Institute is the business unit within Pantone that highlights the top seasonal runway colors, selects the Pantone Color of the Year, forecasts global color trends, and advises companies on color for product and brand visual identity. Through seasonal trend forecasts, color psychology, and color consulting, Pantone Color Institute partners with global brands to effectively leverage the power, psychology, and emotion of color in their design strategy.”

So essentially, the Pantone color of the year is a big deal because it influences everything from fashion to kitchen appliances to paint to fiber to you-name-it.  Here’s Pantone again:

“The Pantone Color of the Year selection process requires thoughtful consideration and trend analysis. To arrive at the selection each year, Pantone’s color experts at Pantone Color Institute comb the world looking for new color influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, play styles, and socio-economic conditions. Influences may also stem from new technologies, materials, textures, and effects that impact color, relevant social media platforms and even upcoming sporting events that capture worldwide attention.”

Double the Fun in ’21: Pantone Picks 2 Colors – Ultimate Gray (17-5104) and Illumination (13-0647)

As an artist I find it challenging to work with a dynamic color such as “Illuminate,” but its boundless energy and happy vibe is both enticing and optimistic as we enter into the year 2021. The “Ultimate Gray” is solid.  It gives pause for stability, strength and even warmth.  Yes, gray can be warm! Together, these two colors provide balance, something we are all craving this new year.

How does it fit in my body of work?

The symbolism alone inspires me.  As a weaver and fiber artist I’m wondering how these new colors fit into my design process here in 2021. I’m mentally scanning all the cones of yarn lining the walls of our store and weaving studio. First off, I see that I have very little yellow. In fact, some of the yarn lines we have in the store don’t have a yellow even close to Pantone’s “Illuminating”…  so now what?

We improvise!  As artists, we are unfortunately at the mercy of what industry is producing, based upon popularity or sales trends. Yellow has always been a hard sell to consumers because it has such a big personality.  You don’t have to “go big or go home” to embrace these colors.  A little can go a long way, and part of the artistic challenge is to decide what feels right for me and my work.  And that can be totally different from yours.  Fiber is a unique art form, and we have the ability to combine thread to both enhance and diminish color.  Just ask anyone who’s taken the time to weave a color gamp.  Color is not static, and both fiber and method (overshot, anyone?) provide us with the opportunity to color our worlds exactly as we like.

This Year, I Double-Dare You

I double-dare you to notice where you see the influence of Pantone’s colors of the year.  You may be surprised where they turn up.  Next, I also dare you to step out of your comfort zone and see how you can incorporate the spirit, if not the exact colors, of Illuminating and Ultimate Gray in your own work, in your own way.

And I promise, I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.  Now, go make something amazing.