Pantone Color of the Year 2021

It's official! Pantone has announced the colors of 2021: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating.

Pantone Color of the Year 2022 is now out, check it out.

Pantone Color of the Year 2021 is announced as a marriage between strength and hopefulness, the uplifting message we all need in 2021. PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray’ and ‘PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating create a pairing that brings the feeling of optimism and promise of a better day with a rock-solid certainty. It’s all about hope and conquering uncertainty.

You may also be interested in Top Color Trends and Combinations to Try in 2021.

For the last two decades, Pantone’s Color of the year has had an undeniable influence over the design industries, including graphic design, fashion, product design, and packaging, alongside the purchasing decisions in those spheres. To pronounce the color of the Year requires not only diligent and expert trend analysis and knowledge but also considering socio-economic influences and new technologies. Every year, we can see how each color reflects all of it and vibes with the overall mood.

Last year, the color Institute nailed the transition to the new decade with the calmness and stability of Classic Blue.

So this year, considering the rollercoaster that 2020 has been, are we really surprised by the expert decision?

  • PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Grey fortifies with a solid firm foundation. It’s everlasting and promising to stand the test of time. It represents composure, resilience, and unmatched steadiness. It resembles the color beach pebbles.
  • PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is a cheerful and bright shade of yellow that brings the sunlight with all its warmth and vividness. It’s a symbol of the sun rising after dark and washing all the fears away with its solar power.

With this in mind, the pairing is the embodiment of the spirit that needs to be heard and seen and to inspire innovation, intuition, and regeneration.

How to Use Ultimate Grey and Illuminating

As usual, Pantone has provided unique color palettes in order to help designers bring the new pair of shades into striking designs.

  • Aviary: A lively and joyful combination of the pairing with Skydiver #00589B, Peacock Blue #00A0B0, Fruit Dove #CF5C78, and Cloud Dancer #F0EEE9.
  • Enlightenment: Ultimate Grey and Illuminating blend with Lead Crystal #C2BFB5, Lavender #AFA4CE, Prism Pink #F0A1BF, and Placid Blue #8CACD3 to create a hypnotic space that expands our mind and stimulates the imagination.
  • Intrigue: A captivating fusion of influences where the colors of 2021 bring the sunlight with Spice Route #BA5B3F, Willowherb #8F4584, Iris Bloom #5C609F, and Fennel Seed #998456.
  • Sun and Shadow: Strength and positivity with Blue Nights #363B48, Wild Ginger #7C4C53, Oil Green #80856D, and Shadow Green #CFC486.

How to Use Ultimate Grey and Illuminating - Palette Ideas

Pantone also gives us the coloring systems for both Ultimate Grey and Illuminating.

Ultimate Grey Cotton (TCX)

  • sRGB: 147, 149, 151
  • Hex: #939597
  • L*a*b* :  62, 0, -1

Ultimate Grey PMS Solid Coated (INK)

  • sRGB:  151, 153, 155
  • Hex: #97999B
  • L*a*b*:  63, 0, -1

Illuminating Cotton (TCX)

  • sRGB:   245, 223, 77
  • Hex: #F5DF4D
  • L*a*b*:  89, -3, 70

Illuminating PMS Solid Coated (INK)

  • sRGB:   249, 229, 71
  • Hex: #F9E547
  • L*a*b*:  91, -4, 75

Ultimate Grey and Illuminating Design Examples

We can talk about the extraordinary combination of the Colors of 2021 all we want. However, nothing speaks louder than visuals, so let’s dive into the works of creative designers who demonstrate the potential of the pairing in various fields of design.


Ultimate Grey and Illuminating Through the Eyes of GraphicMama

Already inspired, we are eager to keep the tradition and get creative with the new Colors of the year. As usual, we decided to experiment with our vector-based cartoon characters and give them the Ultimate grey and Illuminating treatment. Let’s have a look at how the characters vibe with the new trend.

Geometry Blonde Girl Vector Character: Illuminating Yellow Edition 2021

Color of the year 2021 - illuminating yellow and ultimate grey cartoon character - woman

We’ve made an experiment with the colors of 2021 on our Geometry Blonde Girl Vector Character Design AKA Caitlyn and we really love the way she looks in Illuminating and Ultimate Grey colors! You can get the new 2021 edition, with all 112 poses by clicking on the button below. Enjoy!

Grab all 112 Poses


Minimalistic Man Vector Character: Illuminating Yellow Edition 2021

Color of the year 2021 - illuminating yellow and ultimate grey cartoon character - man

We also tried the colors on our  Minimalistic Man Vector Character Design AKA Justin, and he looks… amazing! He is also available to download with all 112 premade poses.

Grab all 112 Poses


Final Words

In conclusion, we’re pretty sure your hands are itching to try out the great pair of colors and incorporate them into your design. We can’t wait to see you and other designers, illustrators and enthusiasts show off their Ultimate Grey and Illuminating creations so we can all enjoy them. Well, what do you think of Pantone’s choice for Color of the Year 2021? Share your thoughts in the comments.

If you’d like to see even more trends and predictions for 2022, don’t miss these articles, as well:

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Lyudmil Enchev

Lyudmil is an avid movie fan which influences his passion for video editing. You will often see him making animations and video tutorials for GraphicMama. Lyudmil is also passionate for photography, video making, and writing scripts.

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