Pantone’s Color of the Year Announced!

It’s that time of year again, and wow, I feel like we really need this! Yesterday, Pantone announced its new Color of the Year: Illuminating + Ultimate Gray!

For details about Pantone’s Color of the Year 2021, click here. Read on for more about the yarns shown here. Image is my own.

I am absolutely loving this yellow + gray combination. First, in general terms, the bright + neutral is a classic duo; the bright keeps the neutral from being too bland, and the calmer neutral balances the energy of the bright. Second, this specific combination seems to speak on a deep level of the state of the world right now: appropriately somber, but also in great need of reason for optimism — and what’s more uplifting than clear, sunny yellow?

Aside: Am I the only one slightly confused by “Color [singular] of the Year” when it’s actually two colors? I just checked the Pantone site again, and it is indeed using the singular form. End of aside.

When I first saw Illuminating + Ultimate Gray, I immediately thought of a color palette I created several years back called Sunbreaks. (For those who might not have heard this quasi-meteorological term, I grew up in Seattle, where “sunbreaks” was a term regularly used to describe an upcoming weather phenomenon — when the sun momentarily breaks through the cloud cover. Trust me, we live for those moments in this part of the world. I’ve long suspected that someone made up the word just to alleviate the boredom of predicting “high in the mid-40s, low in the low 40s, chance of showers” for most of the Pacific Northwest winters.)

Anyway, here’s the palette as I originally designed it:

My “Sunbreaks” color palette.

I still can’t quite believe I’ve gotten all this done so quickly, but since I heard the COTY announcement yesterday (12/9/20), I’ve created a new Petite Scraplets™ kit, and a digital Palette Papers collection (digital products are very new for me, so I’m excited to add this palette to that group!), both of which are now available in my Etsy shop. Here’s a preview of both:

Left: A Petite Scraplets™ kit of small(ish) pieces of gorgeous yarns. Right: The cover of my digital-download Palette Papers set, which includes the original palette seen above. (And I also include a bonus file with color specs — CMYK values and hex numbers for each of the 5 colors in the palette!) All images are my own.

However we feel about 2020, we can at least celebrate these beautiful new colors for 2021, right? I’m curious — how do you think you might use either or both? I know yellows in general can be challenging for a lot of people, particularly in our wardrobes, but what about in home decor? Imagine a room in soothing gray tones; now picture a big pale-gray vase filled with bright yellow tulips in the same room. Oooh…


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