Pantone 2021 Color of the Year

Blog » Pantone 2021 Color of the Year
February 3, 2021
Solution: Creative & Design Solutions
2021 Pantone color, Illuminating and ultimate gray

As the leading expert on all things color, the Pantone Color Institute specializes in color standards and consulting. Seeing color as a strategic asset, they educate their clients on how to best incorporate color as part of their overall brand identity. They also look at the year ahead and forecast the latest trends in the world of color. The Pantone Color Institute is known for selecting the Pantone Color of the Year each year to much fanfare, which ultimately influences trends in everything from home décor to business design.

What is the 2021 pantone color of the year?

For 2021, Pantone selected two colors for the Color of the Year—PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray (a cool gray) and PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating (a bright yellow). The selection for 2021 marks only the second time Pantone has selected more than one color. The first time Pantone selected two colors for the Color of the Year was in 2016, with the selection of PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz and PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity.

While the shades have different meanings, the colors complement one another and have a special meaning when used together.

Ultimate Gray

PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray is a cool gray shade, “emblematic of solid and dependable elements,” according to the Pantone Color Institute. It’s a trendy and modern, neutral shade to compliment any bright color.


PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a bright, cheerful shade of yellow. The color is warm and sunny, and can be considered a fun pop of color when paired with darker colors.

how were the colors chosen?

Choosing the Colors of the Year isn’t a simple process. What initially started as a response to Y2K in 2000, has since developed into a major decision that directly influences color trends across industries for the coming year. Research typically starts months in advance of the December announcement. According to Greenhouse Fabrics, the team is inspired by everything from high-end fashion shows to popular travel destinations. Members of the Pantone team spend months attending events and taking note of how color is used to choose the color(s) they believe will represent the upcoming year.

The 2021 Color of the Year selections symbolize a fresh start after the challenges we faced in 2020. The colors signify a message of resilience and hope, according to Leatrice Eiseman, director of the Pantone Color Institute. The cool gray shade provides the stability we all crave after the uncertainty of the pandemic, while the bright, sunny yellow provides a feeling of optimism we need going into the new year.

how can i incorporate the colors of the year into my branding?

You don’t want your company starting a new year with outdated visual branding. Your company’s branding is the first impression your customers have about your organization, and it’s important to communicate the right message. Our creative team can create design solutions that fit your brand, while also adding on-trend elements to take your marketing to the next level. We can also help you find the best ways to use the Pantone Color of the Year in your marketing efforts!

Our graphic designers can help you design logos and collateral to fit your organization’s needs and marketing campaigns. We design with your audience and existing brand in mind, while adhering to contrast and color accessibility compliance. When you’re ready to start your next design project, contact our team of designers to learn more about how we can work together to better your visual branding and marketing initiatives.






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