Color Trends for 2021: Promos That Wow

  • Feb 11, 2021

Every year, the Pantone Color Institute announces a color that they believe will be popular in fashion, home decor, and more in the year ahead—and this year, they chose two. 


After extensive analysis, Pantone has chosen Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow as 2021’s colors of the year. 


Trending colors are always great choices for promotional products, and in 2021, they’re part of a particularly powerful message. Check out what these colors mean—as well as some ideas for how to make them part of your promotional products strategy. 

Communicating strength

For Pantone, trend forecasting is a big deal. Every year, they analyze modes of expression including popular entertainment, art, and media from around the world to make their prediction. 


Pantone’s experts believe that this year’s combination carries a powerful message about 2021. In the words of their executive director, “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.”


Here’s how to bring the language of colors to your marketing strategy. 

Colorful apparel—for wherever you work

2021 is likely to have several distinct phases (which means there is the opportunity for different types of branded gear).


For now, many people are still working from home. Comfortable items like hoodies, fleeces, and slippers became popular during the shift to remote working last year. At this point, many people have conducted business meetings over Zoom in a dress shirt—and sweatpants. And the preference for comfortable clothing seems unlikely to go away anytime soon.


But as we look forward to the world slowly reopening in 2021, there’s also the possibility of things looking more normal—and a returning awareness of style. Expect a growing excitement that other people will be able to see more than your face and shoulders on a computer screen. Fashion choices will suddenly feel relevant again, and promotional products should harness these trends.


If you’re an investment firm seeking to thank clients for sticking with you through the ups and downs of a turbulent year, consider a quality piece of outerwear that shares this message of fortitude with a gray insulated jacket or a fleece vest. It’s something they’ll reach for when they step outside.


You can also think about thanking clients with a chipper, yellow beanie or scarf, or a sun hat and tote in this year’s colors. Because when the pandemic is over, we can expect a lot of joy in being out and about. 

Pops of color everywhere

Color trends aren’t just for apparel. These trends also affect industrial design and home furnishing.


This also extends to virtual spaces. For those hosting virtual conferences this spring, include experience boxes in Pantone colors to bring participants closer and provide shared ground on which to network and build relationships. Consider including a thoughtful gray coffee cup or tumbler as well as something to make people smile, like bright yellow sunglasses with the conference name on the arm.


If some of your employees will be returning to the office this spring, welcome them back with a gray, eco-friendly wheat straw food storage box and reusable utensils—imprinted with your company’s logo in yellow. You can also think about upgrading to branded office essentials like tumblers, pens, notepads, and portfolios in this year’s colors. An exciting new look in the physical office is one way to make returning to in-person work feel like something to celebrate. 

Messaging matters

However you choose to express these sentiments of resilience and hope for 2021, a promotional gift is a great way to connect with clients and employees. This is a very particular moment in time—full of both hardship and hope—and this year’s Pantone colors were carefully curated to capture that spirit.


Let these colors be part of your promotional products strategy to remind your community that you’re connected by the experiences we’ve shared—and also by the new ones ahead.

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