What will 2021 look like? If experts at the Pantone Color Institute have it right, we'll be seeing a lot of gray and yellow—or, as they call the selected shades, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating. It's the first time in Pantone's 22 years of picking a top annual color that gray has won, the New York Times notes, and the second time that two colors have been selected. The combination represents "a message of happiness supported by fortitude," Pantone says of the color picks, which, per USA Today, are based on color trends seen in the media, fashion, entertainment, and other influences.
"This is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope," says Pantone's Leatrice Eiseman. "We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit." NYT chief fashion critic Vanessa Friedman likens it to "the light at the end of the tunnel" after a year that "has been a mess." The first time Pantone selected two colors was in 2016, when a gradient of Rose Quartz and Serenity were named colors of the year, per CNN. The 2020 color of the year was Classic Blue. (Read more Pantone stories.)