Pantone Announces Illuminating and Ultimate Gray as Colors of the Year

Pantone / Pantone

Every December, Pantone picks a color to represent the year ahead. That's not an easy job during such uncertain times as these, which is why the experts at Pantone have split their choice between two colors of the year for 2021: Illuminating (a yellow shade) and Ultimate Gray.

As CNN reports, the choice is a response to the challenges we faced in 2020 and our attitude going into the new year. While Ultimate Gray can be interpreted as somber, safe, and even bleak, Illuminating's buttery yellow hue suggests optimism and sunshine just over the horizon. No matter how people feel about the months ahead, they may find something in Pantone's color combination that echos their mood.


"The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude," Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a press release. "Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope."

This marks the first time that Pantone has selected a neutral shade as one of its colors of the year. What isn't unprecedented, however, is the choice of two colors. In 2015, the color authority made a nod to two classic symbols of gender by revealing Rose Quartz pink and Serenity blue as 2016's colors.

[h/t CNN]