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Colour of The Year 2021

Colour of The Year 2021

. 5 min read

Every year, design and trend forecasters impatiently await the colour of the year that Pantone announces. This year, for the second time in their history, Pantone have broken tradition and revealed two "colours of the year" instead of one. For 2021 the selected colours are PANTONE® 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and PANTONE® 13-0647 Illuminating.

The artwork Cabañal, Spain 2019 by the photographer Ivailo Stanev-Álvarez from the portfolio of Monochrome Hub Gallery in the colours of the year - Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow.
Colour of the Year 2021 - Cabañal, Spain 2019, ©Ivailo Stanev-Álvarez

“The selection of two independent colours highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one colour or one person, it’s about more than one. 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 news release. “Practical and rock-solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a colour combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”

By selecting Color of the Year, Pantone scours the world for colour influences. They look for art, fashion, pop culture, movies, popular tourist destinations and much more. It has a great influence in a variety of industries, from fashion, industrial design, product packaging, graphic design, and household goods.

Interior in gray and yellow and hanging art photo Nice, France 2018 by the artist Ivailo Stanev-Álvarez on the wall
Nice, France 2018, ©Ivailo Stanev-Álvarez

photos from the fashion, art, industrial and interior design with the colours of the year 2021 - Pantone Illuminating and Ultimate Gray
Colour of the Year 2021 - PANTONE® 17-5104 Ultimate Gray / PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating

Today’s leader in colour trends Pantone started back in 1956 as a printing company, which focused on making colour charts for the cosmetic, fashion and medical industries. When Lawrence Herbert (a student with impeccable knowledge of chemistry) first joined the company as a part-time employee, he noticed how difficult it was for designers, ad agencies and the printing company to communicate—identifying exact colours from names (for example light red, dark blue, warm green). There were mistakes and a lot of inefficiency due to reprints. Herbert was sure there had to be a better way to optimise the workflow.

He later bought the company convinced that things needed to be done differently in order to reduce all of the mistakes happening. It was in the same decade when Lawrence created the "Pantone Matching System". This standardised colour reproduction system is simply thin cardboard sheets which contain a series of related colour swatches and varying shades or hues of any colour, which can be identified with a particular number.

Pantone colour scale

Due to this system from that moment any colour that was requested by the client no matter how complex it is, was able to match and reproduce without major difficulties.

Constantly improving its technology, Pantone colours are more varied and dynamic than any other colour techniques they also allow for consistency of colour on all available platforms. Pantone has managed to provide a solution to this need successfully through an institute created specifically to achieve this purpose: the Pantone Color Institute.

Certainly part of Pantone's success as a brand comes from having created a concept with its guides and not just conventions related to colours. Its strong links with companies in the fashion and design industry have made it a brand capable of detecting trends.


In 2000, Pantone and the Pantone Color Institute started announcing the ‘Colour of the year’ by choosing Cerulean Blue 15-4020 as the colour of 2000. Every year since then Pantone announced their colour selection which all the design and trend forecasters eagerly await.

Each year the colour is picked after much discussion and it usually reflects the happenings and mood of the current times. Often, the choice of the colour of the year sparks a controversy, with many decrying the choice.


Below you can see the full list of Pantone winners starting from the firs-ever "Colour of the year" in 2000.

Full list of Pantone Colour of the year starting from 2000 to 2020 year
Full list of Pantone's "Colour of the year" 


Representing optimism, strength and positivity, the Pantone Color of the year 2021 can make your wall shine. We carefully selected a collection of artworks in the trendy colours which can convert your home into the source of happiness, good mood and smiles.

Artwork "The Colour Of The Street - Cabañal", Spain 2019, by the photographer Ivailo Stanev-Álvarez in the two colours of 2021 - Pantone Illuminating and Ultimate Gray
The Colour Of The Street - Cabañal, Spain 2019, ©Ivailo Stanev-Álvarez

Find out all artworks included in the collection "Colour of the year 2021" here:

Colour of the year 2021
Representing optimism, strength and positivity, the Pantone Colour of the year 2021 can shine on your wall. Browse our collection of artworks in the trendy colours and convert your home into the source of happiness, good mood and smiles.


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