Color of the Year – Ocreative’s Pantone Prediction for 2021

The selection process for the Pantone Color of the Year began over 20 years ago, “as people were asking about the color that best represented the millennium. They were concerned about the future (the millennium bug) yet also looking forward to new technologies and the excitement of a new millennium.” (Leatrice Eiseman)


According to the Pantone Color Institute, the Color of the Year has influenced everything from product development to packaging and graphic design. Typically, in the first week of December in the year prior, Pantone announces their choice for the Pantone Color of the Year for the upcoming year. “The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than what is trending in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what people around the world feel they need today. The Color of the Year provides strategic direction for the world of trend and design. But perhaps most importantly, it gets people talking about color and the deeper messages and meanings they carry.” (Leatrice Eiseman)

Why Does the Pantone Color Institute Select the Color?

Pantone is deeply rooted in graphics, textiles, products, and home and interior design. Before the development of the Pantone Matching System in 1963, there was no widely accepted universal language of color. The new matching system allowed for the “faithful selection, articulation, and reproduction of consistent, accurate color anywhere in the world.” (Pantone)

Pantone made it possible to name, categorize, reference, and reproduce colors efficiently and effectively regardless of region, language, material, or finish. Pantone’s color language has since become the point of reference for all color conscious industries like textiles, apparel, beauty, interiors, architectural and industrial design, encompassing over 10,000 color standards across multiple materials including printing, textiles, plastics, pigments, and coatings. (Pantone) In other words, they are the international authority on color.

Color 2021

How Does Pantone Select the Color of the Year?

The Pantone Color Institute is a consulting service within Pantone that highlights the top seasonal home and fashion colors, selects the Color of the Year, forecasts global color trends, and advises companies on their use of color for products and designs, and even their office environments. The selection process requires thoughtful consideration and trend analysis.

The Color of the Year selection process takes influence from practically every corner of the world including, but not limited to, art collections and artists, the film and entertainment industry, fashion, design disciplines, popular travel destinations, automotive, and new technology developed to create new techniques, materials, and textures. The intense process of collecting, discussing, and pouring over the imagery by Pantone’s team of 10-12 color experts conclude to a single final color selection and announce the Pantone Color of the Year.

Color of the Year in Selected Industries

Although Pantone was first to define the Color of the Year, many other companies have since followed suit to select their own color of the year that aligns with the trends they see in their industry. Major players in the paint color industry like Sherwin-WilliamsPPG paintsBenjamin Moore, and Behr also deliver their color of the year selections. Furthermore, while each of these companies may cater to the same marketing demographics, their selections do not always align with the same color but may align with the common theme. In 2020, there was a general sense among color experts that people needed to escape their technologically driven lifestyle and reconnect with nature. For example, in 2020, Sherwin-Williams concluded a grounding and rich navy blue called ‘Naval’ and PPG paints brand selected from the blue family as well with 2020 Color of the Year as ‘Chinese Porcelain,’ both aligning in the same family as Pantone’s Color of the Year 2020 ‘Classic Blue.’ Benjamin Moore’s research led them to select a warm, rosy pink named ‘First Light’, and Behr concluded to a soothing green named ‘Back to Nature’ to bring the essence of nature into the home.

Coy2020 Colors

Ocreative’s Prediction for 2021

“Pantone Color Institute’s first Color of the Year in 2000 was Cerulean deemed ‘color of the millennium,’ and I believe that pale Cerulean will make another big splash in 2021. With a global pandemic touching even deep into the remote Amazon rainforest, people are suspended in a state of uncertainty. They seek inner peace and tranquility to their human spirit and look forward to the peacefulness of a crystal-clear day spent relaxing outdoors—hiking a summit, on the beach, or near water.” said Andrea Koeppel, CEO and certified color expert at Ocreative. See our Pinterest board.

Being outdoors is a huge craving for many. Unlike years past, even home renovation projects have seen a shift from indoor to outdoor to allow people to relax in their very own backyard living space. (Remodeling)

Pale Cerulean

Physiologically, seeing pale Cerulean produces a calming effect, which can establish a comfort level that transcends genders and cultures. A similar hue identified by the Color Marketing Group’s World Forecast for North America aligns it as a key color for 2021. Additionally, it was separately selected by the other three Color Marketing Group World Forecast markets of Asia Pacific, European, and Latin American in their expanded World Forecast palettes. “The inclusion of this hue in all four palettes further supports this color’s ability to transcend gender and cultures in 2021, making pale Cerulean a definite standout color for 2021,” stated Koeppel.

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Ocreative is a Milwaukee marketing agency, with expertise and broad experience in developing digital marketing strategies, and growing their online presence, for their clients. The company’s core values include offering the highest level of customer service, award-worthy quality, and performance that surpasses client expectations. Ocreative is located just outside Milwaukee, and works with clients locally, nationally, and globally. Their clients have access to some of the most fun and knowledgeable professionals around – ones who inspire, educate, and problem solve. The agency provides marketing and brand strategyadvertising and designwebsite design and social media, and video expertise to their clients, fulfilling their desire for business growth, and their aspiration to make a mark on their industry.