January 27, 2021

Pantone announces colours of the year 2021

Pantone, one of the world’s leading colour institutes, has announced its two colours of the year for 2021, Illuminating yellow (Pantone 13-0647) and Ultimate grey (Pantone 17-5104) have been chosen by the organisation as both colours have enduring and uplifting qualities. The marriage of these two tones conveys a message of strength and hopefulness, according to Pantone, which offers a positive outlook for the year ahead.

Ultimate grey is described as being solid and dependable, whereas Illuminating yellow is believed to be cheerful and positive. “The union of an enduring Ultimate grey with the vibrant Illuminating yellow expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” says Leatrice Eiseman, the Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Pantone colours of the year 2021


What is the Pantone colour of the year?

The colour of the year has been chosen by Pantone since 2000. Twice a year, the organisation holds a secret meeting in one of Europe’s capital cities. Representatives from various colour standards groups from around the world present their arguments for the nominated colours at these meetings. After two days of presentations and debate, Pantone chooses a colour of the year, which is announced in the coming January.

2021 is the first time that Pantone has selected two colours. Many organisations take inspiration from the colour of the year announcement – often incorporating or implementing the colour in new product line-ups, packaging, designs and purchasing decisions. The announcement often sets the trend for upcoming product launches, interior designs and colour schemes used in marketing campaigns.

Pantone colours of the year 2021


Why Pantone chose two colours for 2021

The organisation says that the combination of the grey and yellow offer a positive message for 2021. Illuminating yellow and Ultimate grey are “two independent colors that highlight how different elements come together to support one another, [and] best express the mood for Pantone Color of the Year 2021,” reads the explanation on the Pantone website.

“Practical and rock-solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, the union of Ultimate grey and Illuminating yellow is one of strength and positivity. It is a story of color that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly.” 

This colour combination represents energy, clarity and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic. Expect to see a lot of grey and yellow in upcoming designs, packaging and product launches throughout 2021. Pantone’s colour of the year is usually a great way for designers and manufacturers to predict upcoming trends and stay relevant to consumers.

Pantone colours of the year 2021


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