Pantone have announced their Colour of the Year for 2021. Shutterstock have forecast a different direction. What are the colour trends for 2021, and how can we best use them?
Pantone Colour of the Year
This year, Pantone have chosen two colours for their Colour of the year: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating. Chosen because they express strength and positivity, these are qualities we’ll all need in spades in the current climate.
Leitrice Eiseman, Executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute says:
PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating
Yellow is well known to be uplifting and I love seeing yellow flowers, especially in the spring, but I’ve never owned anything of that colour. Recently though, I have had a hankering for it, especially in the home. I’m obviously not alone, and Pantone have tapped into this tendency.
PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray
The grey and yellow pair very well, but if you wanted to portray strength in a design a darker, more steely grey would be more appropriate. To me, Ultimate Grey looks calm and contemplative and doesn’t really imply strength.
How does Pantone arrive at its decision?
The people at Pantone have spent the past year looking at trends in art, design, film, fashion, travel, technology and social media. They’ve also looked at emerging materials, textures and effects. From this, they can predict colour trends for 2021. Although these colours are very much on our radar, they will be even more so after in effect being endorsed by Pantone.
Which colour trends for 2021 have Shutterstock predicted?
Unusually there is a bit of a crossover between Shutterstock and Pantone this year. Shutterstock looked for colours that appeared increasingly in their image downloads as 2020 progressed. The following three hues dominated: Set Sail Champagne (a warm neutral), Fortuna Gold (a rich, mustardy yellow) and Tidewater Green, a deep teal.
If you’re unsure what to pair the colours with, look to nature. For example, contrast the colour of these ‘champagne’ sand dunes with the pale blue sky. In fact, champagne would look good in any pastel palette.
Global colour trends
Another interesting study that has been done by Shutterstock has identified the most popular colours used in 20 counties around the world. Purple-based colours are the resounding winners but green and coral are also well represented. The most popular colours in Australia, France, Mexico and United Kingdom are shown below, from left to right.
Do you think we will see a lot more of these colours in there coming year? Pantone is incredibly influential, and Shutterstock have access to a wealth of data, so I would say yes.
About the author
Annette Peppis leads the team at Peppis Designworks, a creative hub of established publishing industry experts who create books, branding, marketing material and design templates for leading publishers and businesses. Keep in touch by subscribing to her bi-monthly emails.