Architect Andrew Maynard asked his Instagram followers what colour he should use inside his house to brighten the interior and his mood, and the answer was overwhelming: “yellow”.
OPINION: I thought we did yellow and grey a few years back, but here they are topping the paint charts to become the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2021. (It’s always a little weird when they make it a combo.)
The pairing is officially Pantone Ultimate Gray and Illuminating. I get the yellow, because it’s an optimistic colour, and we all need that right now. And we have been seeing it everywhere over the past couple of years. It has popped up in architecture, as well as interiors, and is a popular choice for front doors – I love the door pix on this page. But again, why was it not the colour of the year three years ago?
And grey? We have been doing grey now for so many years it’s all a bit of a yawn. So yes, it was indeed a surprise to see it back up there on the charts.
It’s not that Pantone always gets it wrong – last year the colour was coral, and this summer we are seeing coral paired with terracotta and rusty reds and pink tones everywhere you look in magazines and stores.
* Pantone hopes its ‘life-affirming’ colour of the year will make everyone feel better
* Pantone gets it right with 2020’s chilled-out colour of the year: Classic Blue
* How perfect are Pantone’s picks?
But it is the pairing of yellow and grey that seems dated. Even Vogue panned the selection yesterday, saying it seemed “weird, wishy-washy and vague”. Although, is always interesting to hear the reasoning behind the choice.
This is what Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute says: “The selection of two independent colours highlights how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one colour or one person, it’s about more than one.
“The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock solid, but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a colour combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”
Fair enough, it’s a marriage of “strength and optimism”, which sounds positive. And the company says the colours do not have to be used in equal proportions. “Either colour can take precedence whether for apparel, beauty, home furnishings, product design or packaging.”
This is what Pantone suggests for home decor: “Ultimate Gray and Illuminating are a great combination to set the mood in any room in the home, adding a dose of sunshine and positivity.
“Juxtaposing Illuminating with Ultimate Gray in table linens, sheeting and home accessories, including pillows and tabletop, infuses vitality and liveliness.
“Painting a front door in bright yellow conveys a warm and welcoming message when supported by solid and dependable Ultimate Gray in the exterior finishes.
“The ideal combination for any office, whether in the home or in a commercial space, with Ultimate Gray providing the firm foundation for Illuminating, a vibrant yellow that heightens awareness and enhances intuition, lighting the way to the intellectual curiosity, originality, and resourcefulness of an open mind.”
I guess it’s all about how you spin it, but I am not about to pick up a yellow or grey testpot any time soon. My intellectual curiosity and originality might begin to wane, but so be it. It’s been a long, hard year.