‘Hope and Strength’ Sets the Tone for 2021
14 December 2020
Author: Jasmine Waters
Many social media users can be found impatiently scrolling through their feeds, waiting for the announcement of Pantone’s Colour of the Year. We know that colour plays an extremely important role in the psychology of marketing, but the impact of this annually themed event has only occurred over the last few years. How has 2020 influenced Pantone’s decision – and how did their insight become so respected in the first place?
What is Colour of the Year?
For the first time since 2016, Pantone produced two colours of the year, in a bid for the pairing to represent both the turbulence that 2020 has brought and the hope that looks to emerge from it. An aptly titled ‘Illuminating’ yellow has been paired with ‘Ultimate Grey’ to offset hope against resilience, creating an overall composite of the natural elements. Dulux had a similar idea earlier this year by promoting a beige hue to encompass humanity’s strength and desire. Aside from this projected optimism, what could the announcement really mean? Pantone are the self-proclaimed ‘global authority on colour’, with the original concept only seen as an afterthought. This then developed into a decision made by a team of 20, and claim since choosing colours since 2000, they have in essence already chosen themselves. What we’ve seen from then is an effective way to generate excitement and enthusiasm for a previously dwindling colour standards business.
What effect does this have?
The degree of success is perhaps more debated by industry individuals. Consumption is on average based heavily around colour choice and options, but the intricacies and nuances of different shades promoted are more likely to be lost on those outside of the design world. Nonetheless, it’s clear to see the impact the annual choice has beyond the industry, in effect capturing a snapshot of a global mood through one (or sometimes two) colour. We can’t argue that colour drives consumerism. It’s not uncommon to see products featuring a colour that has effectively had its time heavily discounted, reflecting the current consumer need for ‘new’. What will be interesting to see is if the predicted shift towards timeless colours will become a solid reality. There is more weight placed in the evolution of colour now - people want something that is going to see them through a period of time, much like the stability we long to see over the immediate future. This also feeds into the want and need for a more sustainable industry, streamlining cycles of design production to focus on a better quality of smaller quantity. Colour is a powerful tool when used correctly and it will be no surprise to see a palette of yellows and greys as we begin to plan for 2021 and beyond.
Image source: Pantone