Pantone’s Color of the Year 2021 Is Illuminating

Pantone’s Color of the Year 2021 Is Illuminating

Pantone has announced Illuminating, a bright and cheerful yellow, as the 2021 Color of the Year. After a difficult year, this vibrant shade points to brighter days ahead filled with optimism, joy and connection.

The Meaning Behind Illuminating

As a bright and sunny yellow, Illuminating radiates warmth and positivity. It energizes and lifts the spirit, bringing hope during troubled times. This vibrant color evokes sunlight and reminds us of happiness, vitality and human connection.

Pantone chose Illuminating for its uplifting message. After months of uncertainty, people long for happiness, togetherness and a hopeful future. This sunny yellow promises just that – light at the end of the tunnel and better days to come.

How the Color Was Selected

Each year, Pantone analyzes trends across industries to select the upcoming Color of the Year. Factors like media, entertainment and fashion inform the decision.

This year, Pantone aimed to choose a color conveying a mood of happiness and connectivity. Illuminating, a cheerful yellow, perfectly captured the message of optimism and human togetherness we all hope for in 2021.

Complementary Color – Ultimate Gray

Along with Illuminating, Pantone chose Ultimate Gray as a complementary 2021 color. This muted gray serves as a stable and calming counterpart to the bright energy of Illuminating.

Ultimate Gray brings feelings of composure, endurance and resilience. Together, these two colors offer both happiness and reliability – joyful radiance tempered with steady wisdom.

How to Use Illuminating and Ultimate Gray

In your home, add accents of Illuminating to bring warmth and vibrance to a neutral backdrop. Ultimate Gray serves as a sophisticated foundation upon which lively pops of yellow can shine.

In fashion, pair Illuminating with grayscale patterns and textures for a fresh, modern look. Or use Ultimate Gray as an anchoring neutral with Illuminating in exciting silhouettes.

However you incorporate these two colors, their message seems clear – there is light and wisdom to guide us through dark times.

The Future Is Bright

Will Pantone’s Color of the Year choice influence design over the next 12 months? If previous years offer any indication, then the answer is yes.

Each year, Pantone’s selection permeates the worlds of fashion, graphic design, product design and branding. Since color conveys mood and meaning, Pantone’s optimistic choice of Illuminating Yellow suggests many creatives will embrace radiance and joy in their work.

For now, as 2020 draws to a close, Illuminating offers a ray of sunshine to brighten spirits. Paired with the muted wisdom of Ultimate Gray, this vibrant shade says – the future looks bright.


What is Pantone?

Pantone is an authority on commercial color reproduction. Known for their proprietary matching system, Pantone creates and standardizes color palettes for design professionals.

When did Pantone start choosing a Color of the Year?

Pantone first began selecting an annual Color of the Year in 2000. The 2020 selection Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow marks the 22nd year.

How do I use Pantone colors?

Designers and brands license Pantone colors to ensure accurate color reproduction across production materials like printing, textiles, plastics and coatings.

What was the 2020 Color of the Year?

For 2020, Pantone chose not one but two Colors of the Year: Ultimate Gray and Classic Blue. These offered solidity and calm during uncertain times.

How did Pantone select Illuminating yellow?

After analyzing 2021 trends across industries, Pantone designers chose Illuminating to capture a mood of happiness and positivity for the coming year.