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Pantone Color of the Year 2021

2021 pantone smile

Announcing the Pantone Color(s) of the Year 2021

Ultimate Gray


This year Pantone has opted for a dual color combination rather than the traditional single color. 

The last time they did this was in 2016 with Rose Quartz and Serenity, a pink and blue combination you might see at a gender reveal party, but better put as representing gender blur, “coinciding with societal movements toward gender equality and fluidity.” Also seen represented by the transgender pride flag, though Serenity is much more toward the periwinkle spectrum than the deep sky blue color used for the trans flag created by Monica Helms in 1999.

But let’s get back to 2020 and looking ahead to 2021. It makes sense to me to have another dual-color year. With everything that’s going on globally, it seems only one color for the year just isn’t enough. It’s too limiting and after the curveballs that seem to just never stop, having this duo serve as the optimistic color icon to set forth into a new year and take a stronger hold in this decade feels right.

I’ve always been a fan of gray and yellow together. Gray gives you a solid ground, something concrete and stable, while yellow ignites the spark, brightens the neutral, and adds interest by inferring energy (the sun, light, etc.).

It’s also a combination, for various reasons, I associate with education and school. Perhaps from a heathered tee with golden school emblems, or school buses on the pavement by the playground, Graphite no.2 pencils and highlighters (the yellow ones, not the neon ones), chalk-dusted blackboards…

Or bananas and duct tape, wait, that’s from something else. Perhaps the mid-century Americana connotation that comes to mind though a bit dusty. Pantone has illuminated this yellow like a zest of lemon; okay, I had to grab the low-hanging fruit, pun intended. And again, meandering off the path.

A marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.

Ultimate Gray

PANTONE 17-5104

The Numbers

Hex #939597

sRGB 147, 149, 151

L*a*b* 62, 0, -1


PANTONE 13-0647

The Numbers

Hex #F5DF4D

sRGB 245, 223, 77

L*a*b* 89, -3, 70​

“Practical and rock solid but at

the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope.

We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”

When I saw this announcement, my first thought immediately went to the image of Black Lives Matter painted on 16th street in Washington, DC, a few blocks from the White House this past June.

I can see this as a representation of differences between two things, in this instance, color. In this example, we have gray and yellow, two very different but essential colors of the spectrum. Immediately we see them distinct different; the line is clearly drawn. But we have to treat them as equals, for they each hold different roles in how color operates, neither better nor worse than the other. Then apply that to thinking ahead with the new year. Together, they represent hope in humanity and the perseverance toward a bright future.

Or am I overthinking this?


“The selection of two independent colors highlight 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 color or one person, it’s about more than one. The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”

As people look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity, and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty, spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality. PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power. PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colors of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.

Citations + Related Articles

2021 pantone smile
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Back to Nature



Or are we going back to the Seventies? AVocado, anyone?

Note: Image above has a filter over it, so the green tone is most likely showing darker than actual color. Refer to palette or image below.

I preference this post with the statement that, I intended on writing more and providing more research, but I didn’t get to it in time. I started this back in August, over a month ago, but I’m cleaning out the draft folder again, and this one should probably at least get to be seen as-is. So keep that in mind if you read past this…

Muted, pastel, dusty, safe, neutral, clinical are some words that come to mind when I see this palette. But it’s pleasant, nothing is hurting my eyes.

“As we look ahead to a new decade, Back To Nature encourages us to reengage with the natural world, which we know can have a real, positive impact on our well-being. Everyone has a different way of engaging with nature. Whether you’re biking on a forest path, canoeing on a lake or walking on the beach, green is prevalent in nearly every outdoor landscape—it is easily nature’s favorite color.”
Erika Woelfel
Vice President, Color and Creative Services at Behr
Behr 2020 color palette
Behr’s 2020 Color Trends


Blu Dot Do the hustle

The palette Behr has garnered its staple 2020 colors has not just emerged from thin air, nor is it unique to Behr’s product line. I’m having a bit of déjà-vu as I’ve already seen these tones reflected in a lot of other interior design trends.

Notably, Blu Dot seems to have nearly adapted the same palette. Even their quirky tone of voice reflects the nod to a disco-era capsulate of color.


BLU DOT’s Clean Cut Chair and the available finishes definitely are ahead of the curve. Or is that just a bad pun? Either by presentation or maybe just the sleek and sexy curvy form of the chair, I find this palette a lot more alluring compared to the Behr palette. Perhaps the color names are tipping the scale for me here, but I do think these tones are a deeper saturation or just pack a little more punch for me.


Mahdavi Collezione Bisazza
Mahdavi Collezione Bisazza

Bisazza puts a contemporary spin on the traditional cement tiles with its new CEMENTILES collection.
The handcrafted features of the original production process are maintained intact, while the design was entrusted to some of the most innovative international designers: Paola Navone, Jaime Hayon, India Mahdavi, Tom Dixon, David Rockwell, Carlo Dal Bianco, Fernando, and Humberto Campana.

The cement tiles are made by layering two mixtures that are hand-poured into special molds and then pressed. The first mixture, made up of highly durable white cement, marble dust and colored oxides, determines the design and color of the tile; the second, made of cement and sand, forms the bottom layer of the tile.

Once they have dried, an impregnating water-repellent sealant is applied by hand to the tiles.

Very similar tones represented in the tiles from Bisazza; also a wider array of options that allow for more playful color interaction. Also, there are brown tones here, Behr did not have any listed in their collection (Cider Spice was the closest).





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The American Automobile Paint Code Interchange Manual

Ford Coral Mist / Playboy Pink

A timeline of colours

Americans, of course, love nothing quite as much as their cars. A perusal through the one hundred and fifty-odd pages of the American Automobile Paint Code Interchange Manual presents a national psychogram of sorts, one that moves from wartime colors – South Sea Blue, Military Blue, London Gray – to postwar middle class 1950s fantasy (Cambridge Maroon, Sportsman Green). The social striving of the early 1960s – Executive Gray – turns cheeky (Smoker’s Lung Gray) by decade’s end. This light cynicism is superseded by a shockingly socially conscious series of colours, particularly at Ford, in the 1970s (Counter Revolutionary Red, Anti-Establish Mint). Some even directly reference the war in Vietnam, from an indubitably Peacenik perspective (Bring’em Back Olive). By the 1980s, this flair is gone, replaced by blander, more commercially appealing colors: French Vanilla, Medium French Vanilla, Pastel French Vanilla. There is less fantasy, more Antique Cream. By 1990, even Midnight Wine had given way to Mary Kay Pink. Join us for a quick stroll down America’s memory lane.


1941 Chrysler
South Sea Blue

1942 Chrysler
Military Blue

1946 Cadillac
Seine Blue
London Gray

1946 Ford
Navy Blue No. 1
Navy Blue No. 2
Dynamic Maroon

1947 Ford
Rotunda Gray



1950 Ford
Cambridge Maroon
Sportsman Green
Wagon Tan
Bimini Blue

1953 Buick
Niagara Blue
Potomac Blue
Everglades Green
Submarine Gray
Caravan Beige
Hollywood Maroon
Casino Cream

1953 Ford
Polynesian Bronze

1954 Ford
Dovetone Gray
Highland Green
Lancer Maroon

1956 Dodge
Chinese Rose
Oriental Coral

1957 Ford
Woodsmoke Gray

1958 Ford
Bali Bronze

1959 Edsel
President Red
Jet Stream Blu



1960 Chrysler
Executive Gray

1962 Chrysler
Dove Gray
Embassy Red

1963 Chrysler
Pace Car Blue

1963 Buick
Diplomat Blue

1965 Chrysler
Patrician Gold

1966 Ford
Candyapple Red

1967 Buick
Smoker’s Lung Gray

1967 Ford
Playboy Pink

1968 Chevy
Tripoli Turquoise

1969 Ford
Freudian Gilt
Thanks Vermillion
Hulla Blue
Anti-Establish Mint

1969 Chrysler


1970 Ford
Bring ‘em Back Olive
Last Stand Custer
Three Putt Green
There She Blue
Good Clean Faun
Counter Revolutionary Red

1970 American Motors
Big Bad Orange

1970 Dodge
Plum Crazy
Green Go
Go Mango
Panther Pink

1971 Dodge
Citron Yella

1975 Ford
Green Glow
Tan Glamour

1976 Dodge
Big Sky Blue

1977 Ford
Lipstick Red



1980 Ford
Bright Bittersweet
Pine Opolescent

1982 Ford
French Vanilla
Medium French Vanilla
Pastel French Vanilla
Antique Cream

1982 Ford

1986 Ford
Midnight Canyon Red
Midnight Wine

1990 General Motors
Mary Kay Pink

1991 Ford
Bisque Frost
Race Yellow
Pastel Alabaster

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Greenbelt’s Fairview Avenue underpass gets a vibrant makeover

Greenbelt Mural "Go With The Flow"
Greenbelt Mural "Go With The Flow"

Greenbelt’s Fairview Avenue underpass gets a vibrant makeover



The 50th anniversary of the Greenbelt is less than a month away, and to help celebrate the anniversary, the Boise Department of Arts and History selected an artist to paint the retaining walls located in the underpass of the Fairview Avenue bridge.

— Read on

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It’s a start…
I have an issue (insert joke about more issues than such-n-such tabloid/periodical) with taking tons of photos and only maybe 5% actually make it to instagram. So I’m going to start going through my ridiculous amount of digital imagery and share things I may have overlooked or just didn’t have time for. Anyone else keep filling up their cloud storage or is that just me? Happy February! Don’t spook the groundhog!

#Abstractart #art #artist #gayartist #artistoninstagram #artgallery #originalartwork #artsanity #color #acrylic #liquitex #studio #studiolife #artstudio #instagram #instalike #instagood #instamood #instaartoftheday #artoftheday #picoftheday #photooftheday #myartwork #modernart #contemporaryart #expressionistart #instaartwork (at Studio 2:22)