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HomeOPINIONHow will Pantone’s 2021 colour predictions affect retail?

How will Pantone’s 2021 colour predictions affect retail?

Pantone, the ‘global authority of colour’, has predicted English Yellow and Chicago Grey as the colours of 2021.

But how does the company go about predicting these colours, and what does this mean for Retail?

The Register talks to artist and author Annie Sloan about how she sees the chosen colours replicated across brands.


How does it work?

Pantone begins its global research early in the spring, looking at recurring patterns or colours in daily life situations. Following a nine month process, the company then announces its colour predictions for the following year in early December.

But why are these predictions so important?

In terms of retail, some may liken the colour choices to the age-old question, ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg?’

While there are many brands that wait until Pantone announces the winning hue before launching products, the truth seems to be that the team at Pantone has been observing these colours in real life around the world for quite some time beforehand.

How can retailers capitalise on the colours of the year?

Annie Sloan says that while Pantone’s colour predictions are highly anticipated, it is the prediction of one company, amongst a varied paint and colour industry and should be used with a pinch of salt. In saying this, Sloan says Yellow is a great colour to catch attention and works wonders for shop interiors.

“Alive and attention grabbing, it’s a joyful colour with plenty of energy, channelling sunshine at its heart. Using a bright, vibrant yellow such as English Yellow can be used to retailers’ advantage by highlighting a new range, an entrance way or a window display. 

“Its a colour that gives excitement, which is just what customers need to make a purchase.”

Pantone’s Chicago Grey however is not as intriguing. Sloan says grey can be used to create a calm environment to relax customers and create a haven for them to shop in, however would only bring excitement when combined with a hint of the yellow.

“Together, these colours can be used to maximum advantage for retailers.”


Is this the end of millennial pink?

Sloan says if it was the end of millennial pink we would know about it. Pastels still seem to be a firm favourite for branding as they give a suggestion of personality while making great neutral backgrounds for graphics and logos.

While Sloan can see some brands turning to yellow, with the age-old tradition of grey, she believes the trend won’t last.

“It may be down to global circumstance, but I don’t believe Pantone have chosen the strongest colours to bring in 2021. Pink on the other hand, now there’s a colour with legs.”

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