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The 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year: Ultimate Gray, Illuminating

Yes, there are two hues this year.
Dec 10, 2020
Photo/s: Pantone

Pantone has announced the 2021 Color of the Year -- two of them -- Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, as the world looked to next year with hope as COVID-19 vaccines begin to roll out.

The color matching service used in fashion and interior design said the union of Ultimate Gray (PANTONE 17-5104) and Illuminating (PANTONE 13-0647) is "practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic."

"It is a story of color that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly," Pantone said on its website.

Continue reading below ↓

In the crazy year that was 2020, the Pantone Color of the Year was Classic Blue, and in the years before that, Living Coral, Ultra Violet, Greenery, Rose Quartz, Serenity, Marsala and Radiant Orchid. In 2016, Rose Quartz and Serenity were joint Colors of the Year.


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"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," the company said.

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

Ultimate Gray is "emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation... quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience."

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