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Pantone Announces 2021 Color(s) of the Year: Illuminating and Ultimate Gray

Pantone has once again combined two colors as its "Color of the Year" for 2021

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Pantone Colors of the Year 2021, Ultimate Gray, Illuminating Yellow
Pantone has announced its colors of the year for 2021

Pantone has revealed a pair of colors for 2021's Color of the Year. 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," according to the Pantone Insititute.

"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. Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power." 

"The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope," says Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. "We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit." 

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.

"Emboldening the spirit, the pairing of Ultimate Gray + Illuminating highlights our innate need to be seen, to be visible, to be recognized, to have our voices heard," the Instititute continues about the color pairing. "A combination of color whose ties to insight, innovation and intuition, and respect for wisdom, experience and intelligence inspires regeneration, pressing us forward toward new ways of thinking and concepts."

Pantone 2021 Colors of the Year in use

Interior Designer Adele Shotton-Pugh, of home furnishings retailer Terrys says “Grey is an extremely versatile color and this shade of Ultimate Grey will act as a fantastic base for the home. Yellow is the ultimate mood booster, and when teamed together the shades work in harmony to create a space that’s both relaxing and full of personality.”

She adds, “If you’re not quite ready for a full-out yellow makeover, soft furnishings such as bedding sets, cushions and blinds are all a great way of introducing cheery shade into your home and are sure to make you feel good about your space.”

Designer Jonathan Adler is pleased with the Pantone color announcement this year as well. “When it comes to colors I’m Connie Combo—colors come to life in dialogue with other colors. I love to mix a neutral with a strong color. Grey is a forever neutral so props to Pantone for giving good old stalwart Grey a shout-out," he says.  "But grey kinda maxes out at supporting actress, so I think giving a shout-out to yellow as best actress is a good call. I love, and I have always loved, and will forever love that combo — grey and yellow."


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