Pantone has announced the colours of the year 2021: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating.
For the second time, Pantone picked not one, but two colours which wonderfully blend together. An elegant and courageous choice.
Michel Pastoreau, historian and anthropologist, the world’s leading specialist in colours and their symbolic meanings, and Dominque Simonnet, editor-in-chief of the French weekly L’Express, in the «Petit livre des Couleurs» (Edition du Panama, 2005) explain how yellow used to be very appreciated; the Romans liked to wear yellow garments during ceremonies.
Lack of love dates back to the Middle Age when gold centred the positive symbols of yellow, which has instead become a sad colour associated with disease, decline and betrayal. Van Gogh re-evaluated it in his sunflowers. In his favor the yellow jersey of the tour de France and in Italy the color of the Post Office.
Children truly love yellow, just think about them always depicting enormous yellow suns in their drawings. The two authors conclude by imagining a future resurrection for the yellow, which has fallen very low.
Grey, for the authors, has the character of a true colour and not just a shade of black, it evokes sadness, melancholy and indifference. Goethe thought that grey was all the colors together. As a matter of facts, grey is the richest colour indeed as it is often used by painters and artists. The authors warn «shades do not bear any symbolism, they have only an aesthetic meaning». At the end of the Middle Ages, grey was considered the opposite of black. Therefore symbol of hope which perhaps could work as an amulet for the New Year.