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Is this the end of millennial pink? Introducing Pantone’s colours for 2021

The choice of two distinct colours for 2021, PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating, highlights how in the aftermath of the global pandemic, we need to come together to support one another.

“A message of happiness supported by fortitude, the combination of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is aspirational and gives us hope. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit”.


Speaking to British artist Annie Sloan, who’s famous range of Chalk Paint takes inspiration from her lifetime of research and experience working with colour, she is celebrating Pantone’s 2021 colours with her own English Yellow and Chicago Grey.

“Joyful, bright and outgoing, sunny yellow is full of hope for the future, matched with a warm soft grey to keep us firmly grounded”, says Sloan.

We ask Sloan how lifestyle brands will replicate these colours, and she says “yellow has been big in the fashion industry in recent years, and it’s proved a great colour to catch attention. It’s a difficult colour for many to wear, and so has been utilised in details. A button, a stitch of embroidery, an accessory. I see this transferring to the lifestyle industry, on soft furnishings, handles on furniture, details in wallpaper. That’s not to say in home décor the big yellow wall isn’t fabulous – I have one in my hallway which is quite the statement – but it’s generally a colour to use as an accent. In terms of grey, this is neither groundbreaking nor exciting, in my opinion. However, I can see many lifestyle brands using the accessibility of Pantone’s grey with a hint of exciting yellow”.

Annie Sloan

And what about millennial pink – is this hot trend sticking around for the new year?

Sloan says “if this was the end of millennial pink I think we’d know about it! Pastels still seem to be a firm favourite of21st-century branding, as it gives a suggestion of personality whilst still being a neutral background for graphics and logos. I can certainly see some brands turning to yellow with the age-old tradition of grey, but as it’s not a memorable colour, I don’t think the trend will last. It may be down to global circumstance, but I don’t believe Pantone have chosen the strongest colours to bring in 2021. Pink, on the other hand, now there’s a colour with legs…”

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