For the past few years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has been bold—see: Ultra Violet, Living Coral and, most recently, Classic Blue. But this year, the color authority is making an even more dramatic move, honoring not one, but two Colors of the Year.
The institute just revealed that it’s naming Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (bright yellow) as the colors of 2021. We’ll give you a minute to let that sink in, since it took us a few moments to understand whether the combination will look chic or resemble an elementary school science project.
This is the first time Pantone has honored two Colors of the Year. (Back in 2016, the brand announced two hues—Serenity and Rose Quartz—but they were blended together, forming one ombré, cotton candy-like gradient.) According to the Color Institute, gray and yellow represent “a marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.”
In a statement, Pantone Color Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman explained that while it’s unusual to select two colors, it was a no-brainer after the year we’ve had.