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  • Writer's pictureNorthPoint

Pixels To Print: 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year



It’s that time of year again…Pantone has announced the 2021 Color of the Year. For the second time in history, though, they have announced not just one, but TWO colors of the year. Before you raise any eyebrows, let me tell you the reason why that may change your thoughts on this announcement.

For over 20 years, the Pantone Color Institute has selected a Color of the Year after thoughtful consideration and analysis of the trends in the world at the time. Their chosen color (or colors) has major influence over industries all around the world, from product development to fashion, interior design, industrial design, and graphic design, to name a few. These colors don’t only reflect current trends, but they also have a great impact on psychology and emotion, which can be used in design strategies for businesses globally.

The Pantone Institute of Color has announced “Ultimate Gray” and “Illuminating” as the Colors of the Year.

According to the Pantone Institute of Color, PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating are two independent colors that highlight how different elements come together to support one another, best expressing the mood for 2021.

After what has been a whirlwind of year in 2020, Pantone’s meaning behind their selection is one that can resonate with us all. Acting as a metaphor, these two colors are meant to represent the light at the end of the tunnel (or as some may refer to it – 2020). The combination of the two symbolizes both strength and positivity, with the gray being “practical” and “rock solid”, and the yellow showing “warmth” and “optimism”.





“Ultimate Gray” is representative of solid and dependable elements that give the feeling of an everlasting foundation. This shade of gray is not the dark grey that may be associated with sadness or storminess, or even the luxurious gray of Dior, but is instead more of a solid neutral gray of wisdom and assurance. “Illuminating” is a representative of spirit, innovation, and hope. It is not as neon as highlighter yellow or as orangey as a mimosa yellow, but is more of a sunshine yellow, giving us the feeling of positivity and happiness.

The combination emphasizes that even in the gray times, the future looks a whole lot brighter! Cheers to that, Pantone!

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