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Exhausting.  Chaotic.  Heartbreaking. 


These are just three of the most common words used to describe the emotions felt by the human race in the year 2020.  As we enter what is quite arguably the most anticipated new year most of us have experienced in our lives to date, Pantone recently announced they have chosen not one, but two colors, to be the Pantone Color of the Year; two colors that embody the narrative we are all so desperately hoping will be 2021.


Ultimate Gray (Pantone 17-5104) and Illuminating (Pantone 13-0647) were chosen to set the tone for all things retail and promo for 2021.  Two seemingly subtle colors on their own, Ultimate Grey represents stability and a solid foundation, while Illuminating (a sunshine-like shade of yellow) serves as a bright light of inspiration and hope.  There’s a sense of security and calmness to the specific shade of gray chosen, and the shade of yellow intentionally chosen to complement its color partner depicts a “story of color that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness, with the promise of something sunny and friendly,” Pantone explained when they announced their decision this past December.


We talked about the surprising amount of research and analytics that go into Pantone’s choice each year in a previous blog, when they revealed Classic Blue (Pantone 19-4052) as the chosen color for 2020.  With a long track record of choosing an array of unique, non-traditional colors to set the mood for the upcoming year, the subtlety of Classic Blue shocked trend forecasters across the globe.  While this annual announcement tends to create quite the buzz surrounding the often obscure colors chosen, Classic Blue seemed to do the exact opposite.  The vast majority of fashionistas and marketing influencers alike took to their blogs and social media outlets, using words such as “omnipresent” and “boring” to describe their seemingly collective feelings on Pantone’s choice.


While Ultimate Gray and Illuminating still aren’t quite in line with the striking hues we’re used to being saturated with year after year, they do seem to pack more of a punch than colors in years past with the underlying marketing message they deliver.


This is a message we think we can all stand behind, and the layers of meaning behind the thought process that went into Pantone’s pick for 2021 aligns perfectly with the thought process we at Brand-On use when helping you choose the right promotional products for your brand.  Promotional products, when done right, are designed to create emotion in the recipient they’re intended.  Promotional products aren’t created to simply show your logo to your community, but rather tell the story of your brand to the world.  Whether it’s a matching branded mouse pad and coffee mug set you want to send to your employees still working from home, or a printed tee shirt and custom journal you’re mailing to the attendees of your annual event being forced to still go virtual, promotional products, now more than ever, are being used to remind us all that while we may still be separated physically, we’re very much still connected emotionally.  


Gray is a neutral color that provides a sense of calmness and relaxation, while yellow offers a sense of warmth and light, perhaps even painting the picture of a light at the end of a tunnel.  With 2020 metaphorically being a very long tunnel many of us weren’t sure would ever come to an end, we’re kind of in love with this color combination.  It’s a combination of two independent colors that, when brought together, have the ability to create feelings of normalcy and serenity, while simultaneously sending ‘good vibes only’ sprinkled with emotions of love and happiness.


If Pantone can use colors alone to send inspirational messages of love, peace and light to consumers, just imagine the story your brand can tell when combined with intentionally chosen promotional products and branded apparel.  If that’s not amplifying your image with the power of promo, we don’t know what is.


For more information on all of the additional behind-the-scenes services Brand-On offers, such as custom patches on the coolest headwear, kitting and custom packaging for your virtual events, online stores, fulfillment and so much more, go to brand-on.us/our-work/.

You can also contact us for more ideas on how we can help you amplify your image by visiting us at brand-on.us/contact-us/, where you can subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest on sales, product releases, industry news, and more.  Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram using the handle @brand_on.life – all the cool kids are doing it.