After a dim and tumultuous year, Pantone has named Illuminating — a sunshiny yellow — and Ultimate Gray as the 2021 colors of the year. The color institute calls the pairing “a marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.”
“Practical and rock solid, but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope.” — Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute
“The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Practical and rock solid, but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.”
The institute said that it chose two colors this year to highlight how different elements come together to support one another. The bright, cheerful shade of Illuminating is optimistic and conjures feelings of happiness, while its partner, Ultimate Gray, provides feelings of stability.
“A message of happiness supported by fortitude, the combination of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is aspirational and gives us hope,” Pantone released in its announcement. “We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit.”
Pantone went on to say about its colors of the year for 2021: “As people look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty, spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality. PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power. PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colors 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.
“Emboldening the spirit, the pairing of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 highlights our innate need to be seen, to be visible, to be recognized, to have our voices heard. A combination of color whose ties to insight, innovation and intuition, and respect for wisdom, experience, and intelligence inspires regeneration, pressing us forward toward new ways of thinking and concepts.”
Lenise Willis is the editor in chief of Gifts & Decorative Accessories, which has been covering the gift, stationery and home industry for more than 100 years. She is a graduate of the Journalism School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and brings both print and digital experience in news and marketing to the magazine. Through market events, as well as print and digital reporting, she leads conversations concerning product trends and news affecting changes in the gift industry at large.