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c:Pantone Color of the Year 2021


Pantone has released the color of the year 2021, and like everything in 2020 and beyond, it’s unprecedented. 2021 will have two colors of the year: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating Yellow. Pantone clarifies the choice as a need for “warmth and dependability” in 2021. Grey provides a trustworthy foundation, while yellow gives us the ray of sunshine we need in an unpredictable year.  

As Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, explained, “The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude.” The newest trends of 2021 call for grounded optimism in the home - embed positivity and durability into every aspect of your life.  

This time last year, our founder Michelle Van Der Water wrote about Classic Blue – 2020’s Pantene’s Color of the Year. She detailed a beautiful ode to the Lyrebird: an Australian bird straight out of a fairytale who loves classic blue as much as we do. The Lyrebird has a knack for stealing bright blue objects as decorations for their nest, sharing our love for the classic shade with female visitors.  

The 2020 Pantone blog post has a close place in my heart. It’s the first post I read, and it got me excited about writing for Rockin Cushions. And as a bird person, bird facts are my weak point. I wanted to do something similar with the 2021 Pantone Color of the Year by talking about a bird I love: the Western Kingbird. 


c: Western Kingbird


Grey-headed with a yellow belly, the Western Kingbird appears modest and inconspicuous until the bird spreads its wings and takes flight – exposing its sunny chest. Hawks and eagles certainly inspire jaw-dropping awe, but it’s the little birds I love the most. The world towers above these little birds who are smaller than a robin. Every car is a roaring dragon, every person a fearsome giant, every animal a predator that could swallow them whole. These little birds can curl up in the palm of my hand, but they cannot hide from a world that looms high. And yet the Western Kingbird can soar above it all with sunshine pouring out their bellies. Against an unpredictable world, these tiny birds keep going. Resting on fencepost in the field, they can find a moment’s peace to find the calm they need to fly again. 

The Western Kingbird embodies the positivity we need in 2021. We’ve dropped the glass ball in Times Square, cheering and popping bottles with the cheer of soldiers returning home, but only to find the chaos of 2020 close behind and far ahead. The chaos of 2020 remains, but with 2021, we hope to build a dependable and positive foundation. Lean on your loved ones and let them lean on you in turn; find your little comforts and be quick to comfort others. Bare your sunshine chest and strive to be your own solid illuminating light. Do what you can – be easy on yourself. Keep flying upwards like the Western Kingbird. Keep moving forward. 


Shades of Grey and Yellow

To give your home the dependability and positivity of Pantone’s Color(s) of the year, check out these featured Rockin Cushions slipcovers that both ground any room and add an electrifying pop of color!

c:Pantone Color of the Year, IKEA Hacks



Kathryn Blessington

Written by Kathryn Blessington (KTB)