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The Uncertainty of the Subsequent Few Months Is Encapsulated in Pantone’s 2021 Colours of the Yr

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After a hell of a 2020, it’s nearly impossible to predict what kind of mood 2021 will hold. Maybe that’s why Pantone decided to shake things up and select two shades for 2021 Color of the Year. On Wednesday, the company announced a departure from its traditional single shade system and named Illuminating and Ultimate Gray as its picks for the next chapter.

According to Pantone’s website, the decision to highlight these two colors stemmed from a desire to “highlight how different elements come together to support one another.” Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone’s executive director said in a statement, “The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is the color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.”

Following 2020’s tried-and-true classic blue color, Pantone’s newest choices brought out a variety of comments — from the very surprised to the very skeptical. “The gray!!! Finally something to match my soul,” artist Kei Meguro wrote on Instagram, summing up what we’re basically all feeling. Check out some styling inpiration from the Illuminating and Ultimate Gray palette, below. Luckily, all the gray sweatpants and loungewear we’ve invested in over the past year will come in handy fitting this theme.

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Melinda Martin