Rainy days make us appreciate the sunny ones or whatever saying you prefer! My hope is that 2021 is positioning itself to shine a bit of optimism on us all. There’s no magical remedy for the challenges and trials of 2020, and nothing is immune to the previous year, so it’s no surprise that even in the design world Pantone’s 2021 Color of the Year gives a nod to last year and perhaps the energy for a successful 2021. While they’ve awarded the honor to two colors, Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating, I’ll focus on the latter color here.
Pantone describes 13-0647 Illuminating as “a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power.” Yellow is my favorite color, so naturally, when I saw the news, a smile crossed my face. With my 40th birthday coming later this year, I took this as a sign that Twenty-Twenty-Juan is off to a great start. After a year of uncertainty and drab interior walls, yellow is the perfect color to spark our collective optimism. Yellow can be bright, charming and friendly. It exudes a youthful spirit reminiscent of French fries, puddle jumping in bright yellow raincoats and boots, sunflowers and lemon drops. Recently, the ending of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” featured Rey igniting a yellow lightsaber. This symbolic moment represented the spark of hope leading a new generation away from the dark. While I cheered, I also realized I had mixed feelings about the film. But this one moment of color attachment was able to alter my enjoyment and leave a lasting impression.
Color has the power to influence. This effect is so pronounced that when Red Thinking presents logo concepts to clients, we do not present in color. The focus of the piece remains on the strength of the logo design itself.
The online mental health resource website Very Well Mind published “The Color Psychology of Yellow” by Kendra Cherry, which stated that “Yellow can also create feelings of frustration and anger. While it is considered a cheerful color, people are more likely to lose their tempers in yellow rooms and babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms.” Perhaps yellow’s vibrancy is so potent that it demands a response or heightens an individual’s stimulation, driving them to action. Whatever the case, this is a hue that elicits strong, sometimes complicated reactions. Certainly, after a year of isolation, action and energetic response is more than warranted to not only restart the economy but redefine industry best practices moving forward. If we consider 2020 as a year of inaction, this might be the perfect tone to get 2021 moving in the right direction.
Yellow wasn’t always my favorite color, but over time, I began to associate with it because it made me smile, and I felt it represented my friendly nature. As an introvert with a desire to let my personality show, I love how yellow provides a bright contrast that immediately stands out against dark colors. And it’s that little bit of color that allows me to communicate my personality without uttering a word. Because it is naturally intense and “irritates” or demands response, yellow works to communicate my message or story. Colors offer powerful insights into our identities, our personalities. From the power to rally or anger people with the color of a hat, to waving a flag of rainbow colors to proudly show your true self, color is essential to how we perceive the world and the influence we have over it.
For over 20 years, Pantone’s color of the year has influenced color trends and predicted coming shifts in style and design. Numerous markets are banking on the brilliance of yellow to collectively inspire us all to move forward. I, for one, can’t wait to rock my new yellow Converses and see what experiences they lead me to in 2020-Juan.