Pantone Colour(s) of the Year 2021

Published: 10 Dec 2020

The Pantone Colour of the Year for 2021 is not one but two hues – Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, a sunshine yellow 

Ultimate Gray is, perhaps, a surprising choice, given that there has been a recent movement away from grey to warmer beige tones, but Pantone believes Ultimate Gray ‘is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colours of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.’

Illuminating on the other hand ‘is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power.’

‘We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.’

It is only the second time in 22 years that Pantone has chosen two colours; the first was in 2015 when Rose Quatz (pink) and Serenity (blue) were chosen as colours that blended together, representing gender fluidity and social progress.

This year Pantone felt that no one colour could represent the current times and so two ‘independent colours’ that could come together were chosen. ‘The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Iluminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,’ said Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.  ‘Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a colour combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.’

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