Pantone has announced its Color of the Year for 2021. Typically, we only get one annual champion, but the purveyor of proprietary color spaces decided that 2021 deserves two colors because 2020 was the worst.
Color of the Year is a relatively arbitrary award that has nonetheless been used in the past by designers to set trend outlooks or just use as inspiration. The honor has been granted every year since 2000, and its mission has evolved over time. In 2010, Pantone started theming the year ahead, and this edition brings us Ultimate Gray 17-5104 and Illuminating 13-0647 as “an aspirational color pairing, conjoining deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the optimistic promise of a sunshine-filled day.”
Pantone’s announcement reads like a horoscope for a person who’ll take a little optimism from anywhere they can get it. “The Pantone Color of the Year reflects what is taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for that color can hope to answer,” Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute Laurie Pressman said in the statement.
They’re good colors that look good together. But how do they stack up against entries from the past? Follow the slideshow to see Gizmodo’s definitive ranking of Pantone’s past picks.