Blog
Smiling face

Pantone Color of the Year 2021: Ultimate Gray + Illuminating

Pantone Color Institute has named not one but two colors of the year: Ultimate Gray & Illuminating bright yellow.



Pantone Color Institute has named not one but two colors of the year: PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray, a calming shade that brings to mind stable concrete foundations and serene pebbled beaches and PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating, a bright yellow that evokes warm sunshine, the invigorating bite of a tart lemon and cheerful spirits.

Two independent colours that highlight how different elements come together to support one another, best express the mood for Pantone Color of the Year 2021. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, the union of gray and yellow is one of strength and positivity. It is a story of colour that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly.

Courtesy of Pantone - Time Magazine
Furthermore, the combination itself makes a strong statement. The choice to include two colors this year was influenced by the pandemic and events like the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020. After a year when social distancing became par for the course and people organized en masse across the nation to call for racial justice, the importance of connection is at the forefront of many people’s minds. According to Laurie Pressman, vice president of the institute, this essential need for relationships is mirrored in Pantone’s decision to select two colors this year, which has only been done once before (in 2016, when the institute selected Rose Quartz and Serenity as a nod to the increasing fluidity around gender norms).

Yet, the goal in selecting the color of the year remains the same as in past years: to reflect the culture of the moment of time we’re living in. In retrospect, last year’s color, Classic Blue — a soothing deep indigo that sought to counter anxieties about a new decade — feels ironically prescient for a year that has been defined by uncertainty. And 2021’s colors feel altogether fitting as we prepare to welcome a new year brimming with possibilities: for a vaccine, for the world to open up again, for a return to some sense of normalcy — and the chance to connect.

Courtesy of Pantone - Time Magazine
“We know we’re living in an unusual time,” Pressman said. “Whether it’s about the pandemic or the uprisings around the world, we’re trying to imagine the future as we move into this very different time.”

Ultimate Gray
sRGB -  147, 149, 151
HEX - #939597

Illuminating
sRGB -  245, 223, 77
HEX - #F5DF4D


Sources:
Pantone - PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating
Time - Why Pantone Selected Not One But Two Colors of the Year for 2021
CNN Style - Pantone unveils its 2021 Color(s) of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating
NY Times - Pantone Picks Two Colors of the Year for 2021

Previous releases of Pantone's Colour of the Year series:
2020 - Pantone Color of the Year - Classic Blue
2019 - Pantone Colour of the Year - Living Coral
2018 - Pantone Colour of the Year - Ultra Violet
2017 - Pantone Colour of the Year - Greenery
2016 - Pantone Colour of the Year - Rose Quartz & Serenity
2015 - Pantone Colour of the Year 2015 - Marsala
2014 - PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid
2013 - PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald
2012 - PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango
2011 - PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle
2010 - PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise
2009 - PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa
2008 - PANTONE 18-3943 Blue Iris
2007 - PANTONE 19-1557 Chili Pepper
2006 - PANTONE 13-1106 Sand Dollar
2005 - PANTONE 15-5217 Blue Turquoise
2004 - PANTONE 17-1456 Tigerlily
2003 - PANTONE 14-4811 Aqua Sky
2002 - PANTONE 19-1664 True Red
2001 - PANTONE 17-2031 Fuchsia Rose
2000 - PANTONE 15-4020 Cerulean
Share this article:
A picture of Erkki

About the author

Erkki is founder and AD, who has been with Sviiter since its first steps. Erkki is with economy degree but with great passion for art & design. He has been a mentor in Ajujaht, manager of Innovation Year and helped to build Education Innovation Centre in Tallinn University.
erkki@sviiter.ee