Announcing the Color of the Year

Courtesy of Pantone

The Pantone Color Institute has just announced the color of the year for 2021, and as befitting leaving the chaos of 2020, it has chosen two colors. This is only the second time in 22 years that two colors have been selected. As explained on the Pantone website (, their selections for next year are —

PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating, two independent colors that highlight how different elements come together to support one another…. 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.

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. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit.

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.

Courtesy of Pantone

I’m not sure I share their optimism about two colors fortifying us to overcome uncertainty, but I guess it’s worth a try. I know Pantone is the color authority; we referred to them often when I was in the publishing business. And color does pay a large role in our lives. If Barbie can have her own shade of pink (, and the Minions can get their very own yellow (, maybe there is a lesson for us all in having two independent colors that support one another.


Also see “Why Pantone Selected Not One but Two Colors of the Year for 2021” by Cady Lang  (

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