Pantone Color of the Year 2021

Albert Shepherd updated on 2020-10-12 20:12:58

During the first week of December of each year, the Pantone Color Institute releases the Pantone Color of the Year for the following year. In December 2020, the Institute declared PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating as the two colors chosen to represent the contrast as we transition from a challenging year to one filled with hope and determination.

What is a Pantone Color

Pantone is essentially a graphics company with a range of design-related products that include the Pantone Matching System introduced in 1963. The Pantone Color Institute is a unit within the company, and offers consulting services, among other things. The Pantone Color of the Year is a traditional release that designers the world over eagerly await because it tells them what's trending so they can implement these colors in their marketing and branding initiatives. These are complemented by Pantone Standards, which are physical and digital products that help designs create specific color themes in line with global standards.

pantone color of the year 2021

Pantone colors are numbered with a proprietary system, which is what the Pantone 2021 Colors of the Year - PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating - represent. The numbering and the chip format are unique to the Pantone brand and are widely used in the interiors, textiles, apparel, architecture, and industrial design fields, to name a few. They are essentially used as color themes for plastics, coatings, pigments, dyes, and other mediums. Using Pantone colors ensures consistency across product lines, thereby enhancing the branding experience and making it standard across the world. This is important for any brand that depends on the right colors for its users to recognize the brand.

What is the Pantone Color of the Year 2021

This year, the two colors mentioned above have been selected as Colors of the Year. Pantone describes these colors in various ways:

"Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic"

"strength and positivity"

"a story of color that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly"

"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."

The union of these colors, says the Pantone Color Insitute's Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman, "expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude," and this is the essence of this year's chosen colors.

The Pantone Color of the year is a 20-year-old tradition that is strongly followed by designers and creative professionals all over the world and from diverse fields from graphic design to architecture.

Let's take a glimpse into the past and look at the Pantone Color of the Year over time.

History of the Pantone Color of the Year

2020 has been a very challenging year for everyone, which is probably why 2021 is so highly anticipated in a positive sense. It is also probably why, as in 2016, the Pantone Color Institute declared a union of two colors to represent the past and the future.


Over the years, there has been a range of colors picked for each year, and there's a story behind each one.

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Pantone Color of the Year 2020

The Classic Blue 19-4052 is intended to represent calmness, confidence, and connections. It embodied the hopes and dreams for 2020 as we entered a new decade filled with hope and desire, and the need for stability.

pantone 2021

Pantone Color of the Year 2019

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral was the color chosen for 2019. It is a vibrant yet mellow color that represents warmth, nourishment, comfort, and buoyancy in a constantly shifting environment.

pantone color of the year 2021

Pantone Color of the Year 2018

PANTONE 18-3838 ULTRA VIOLET was chosen to celebrate creativity, inventiveness, and imagination. Per Pantone, it "communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future."

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Pantone Color of the Year 2017

PANTONE 15-0343 GREENERY represents new beginnings. It was the year Donald Trump took the Oath of Office as the 45th President of the United States. It communicates "the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment."


Pantone Color of the Year 2016

PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz & PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity are focused on psychological well-being. According to Pantone, these colors "demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace."

From the Abstract to the Concrete - Working with Colors in Wondershare Mockitt

Color is an abstract concept as perceived by our eyes, but it is not a tangible element. How do we translate this into actual products that people can touch and feel. A key component of that is a prototype design, which helps translate the essence of color, shape, and form into something more tangible that can be interacted with. This is what designing and prototyping are intended to do - distill the magic of colors into a practical application that can be used in a physical or digital product.

Wondershare Mockitt is more than just a design platform on the cloud. This SaaS application serves a higher purpose - the ability to transform the contents of imagination into concrete designs that have physical dimensions. In software development, this is a critical aspect of the development process because it sets the expectations for the final product without the burden of the expenses in developing such a product. Here are some key features of this versatile design tool:

pantone 2021
  • Versatile asset library with import options to bring in Pantone-based images and other visual elements
  • Easy designing with a drag-and-drop interface that supports various design requirements for different platforms, devices, and operating systems
  • Fast prototyping with simple but highly interactive links for gesture triggers, transitions, animation, effects, etc.
  • Tools for collaborative work, such as easy previews and sharing, real-time feedback mechanisms, and so on.
  • Convenient code generation for core HTML and styles - easier developer handoff (code inspection, asset downloads, etc.)

In short, Wondershare Mockitt perfectly complements the use of Pantone colors in your designs. Create stunning visuals in a tool like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator using Pantone color schemes and other digital assets, then import these images into Mockitt and create a life-like prototype of your web application, desktop application, or mobile app that testers and real-world users can interact with and provide feedback on. Transform the magic of the abstract into the practical realm of a digital product in no time with Mockitt. Try it today and see how it can renovate and refresh your workflows and feed the fire of passion that drives design thinking.

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