Color of the Year Collection Paintings

The process of industry color prediction has always fascinated me. Each year the color institute, Pantone, selects a Color of the Year which forecasts color trends for the upcoming year. It's almost like having your very own decorating crystal ball, where you can see what's going to be popular before it actually happens!

Have you ever wondered why a blanket you buy from Pottery Barn is a similar shade as the rug you bought from Ballard? Well that's not a coincidence. Pantone is highly respected and regarded in the design industry as the global authority on all things color, as their analysis influences the trends we see and serves to unify color expressions across various brands and industries. Their predictions set the tone that often lasts for years into the future. 

Color of the Year Collection

The institute selected two colors for 2021: Illuminating, a bright and joyful yellow, and Ultimate Gray, a steadfast and strong gray. Over the next several months, these colors will start to show up in major retailers from fashion and home décor to entertainment and beauty. The pairing of these two colors is a lovely balance of optimism and strength, a fitting theme for 2021.

It's really fun to pay attention to certain colors popping up everywhere. I was out shopping with my kids a few weeks ago and I asked if they noticed anything about the colors on the display. "Oh yeah!" they replied, "Those are the Colors of the Year!"

Bandeau Pattern in Progress

We wanted our first throw pillow collection to feature these upcoming on-trend colors, and make it simple for you to mix and match different patterns without worrying they wouldn't work together. These patterns are designed to coordinate with each other or you can integrate them into your existing decor.

Don't be afraid to pair a modern texture with a traditional floral. If your color scheme is neutral, try adding a nice little POP of illuminating yellow to refresh your space for spring without overwhelming it with too much color (assuming there is such a thing that is!)

One of my favorite design tricks is mixing traditional and contemporary. There is no rule that says you've got to stick with one style and never deviate from it. That's what tends to make a space feel stale and lacking in imagination. Throw pillows are a perfect way to test the waters with a new style or color...they pack a punch, delivering maximum impact with minimum commitment.

Dashes Pattern in Progress

I was more than a little excited to play with this year's colors and see what kind of patterns would spill out of my sketches. Sometimes I have a clear idea before I start of what the design will generally look like. But other times, I let the colors, or the brush strokes dictate where the design takes me. These are the fun ones!

My designs almost always start out with a sketch or a painting. I use a combination of traditional and digital methods to achieve the finished pattern and make various colorways.

Pebbles Pattern in Progress

I'm so excited to see our Color of the Year pillows out in the world! Please send us your photos or share on social media and tag us @melissacolsonstudio. And as always, if you have a design question, don't hesitate to ask!


Shop the Collection

April 11, 2021 — Melissa Colson

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