Pantone Colour of the Year 2021

Design / 26.04.21
Mike Vine

This year’s Pantone Colour of the Year is PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating.

About Pantone

Pantone revolutionised the world of graphic design when, back in 1963, they introduced the Pantone Matching System to catalogue colours.

This created a colour standard which allowed designers across the world to communicate in the same language.

Pantone Colour of the Year

Since 2000 Pantone have analysed trends and influences in the world of design to select a single colour to represent the zeitgeist of each year.

What this year’s colours mean

This year’s colours combine the practicality of grey with the positivity of yellow. Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Colour Institute, explains:

“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 colour combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.”

This is all very nice, but what does it mean in the real world?

To be honest, the Pantone Colour of the Year is really about promoting the Pantone brand.

But it does also remind us of the importance of colour and the impact it has on creating the right (or wrong) identity for your business.

The bright, happy, energetic feel of yellow works well for brands who want their identity to reflect these traits. This can be particularly beneficial if targeting younger generations, think Chupa Chups lollies or MTV.

Meanwhile, the more conservative tones of grey are understated and inoffensive. Hence grey is a popular choice for brands seeking to appeal to the widest audiences, such as Apple.


The colour psychology behind your brand

If you’re keen to know more, here’s an insightful article from about colour psychology and big brands. Can you guess which colour doesn’t feature at all in the logos of the Fortune 500 companies?

Colour is just one aspect of your brand identity.

Our work looks at the full spectrum of your brand, what it means to your clients and how it can be developed to grow your business.

Contact us to discuss improving your brand identity

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