Pantone Colors of the Year

Color changes our perception of the world around us. It is a visual language that conveys meaning, depth, and message. 

Color is of such importance in reflecting world trends and societal changes that each year the Pantone Color Institute selects a color of the year. The Pantone Color of the Year selection is a thorough process by the color experts at the Pantone Color Institute who carefully consider the new color influences. These influences are aggregated from seasonal trend forecasts, color psychology, color consulting.

This year’s colors: PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating.

It is described by the institute as: “A marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.”

The preceding years have been Classic Blue (2020), Living Coral (2019), Ultraviolet (2018), and so on. The selection of the color is both a reflection and a guidepost — setting the tone for global branding, design, and considerations.

The psychology of color and why this combination is special

This year’s presentation of two colors is especially meaningful as it brings together two complementary hues. Ultimate Gray evokes a serene, stabilizing effect while Illuminating brings brightness and hope.Untitled design (18)

In color psychology, yellow is uplifting and known for inspiring feelings such as happiness, fun, cheerfulness, curiosity, and empowerment. 

“Practical and rock-solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, the union of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating 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,” says the Pantone Color Institute. “(The combination) is aspirational and gives us hope. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit.”

A reflection on collective and personal transformation

2021 is not just a date on the calendar, it is the signal for a new time. People around the world are hungry for a reset button to awaken refreshed, hopeful, and ready for a new day.  

It is not blindly optimistic but rather a combination that speaks to our wisdom, experience, and resilience. Innovation and regeneration are a way forward. The personal transformation experienced on an individual level throughout last year’s disruptions culminated in outward movements toward a new vision and trailblazing future.

The Pantone announcement is more than a branding exercise. It is a herald for the energy of a new year. The combination speaks to our hard-earned insight and encourages a joyful path forward.