PANTONE’S COLOURS OF THE YEAR 2021: Ultimate Gray & Illuminating Yellow PANTONE’S COLOURS OF THE YEAR 2021: Ultimate Gray & Illuminating Yellow

Stronger together

Stronger together

Each December, the Pantone Colour Institute unveils which colour will define the coming year. It’s an important date that sets trends: the announcement has a significant influence on the world of fashion, design and interiors. This year, more than ever, we are excited to open our arms to a fresh new look and perspective, and to bring a little colour into our lives!


By the end of 2020, we thought nothing could surprise us. But once again we found ourselves eating our words, as the Pantone Colour Institute revealed a surprising twist: it was decided that not one but two colours would represent 2021. This move bucks a long-standing trend, as it’s only the second time in two decades that a colour combination has been chosen!

After 2019’s Classic Blue, a colour which spoke to an era of peace and tranquility that sadly never appeared, the chosen winners are 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and 13-0647 Illuminating, a beautiful neutral grey and a bold sunshine yellow. While at first glance these two colours appear to be in stark contrast, when placed side by side, they are the perfect picture of balance and harmony.


Ultimate Gray is a colour you can count on. Stripped back and unfussy, it is a safe and neutral tone that works in any context. The grounding, rock-like hue is a symbol of strength and resilience, which ages well and won’t go out of style.

Combine this elegant and easy-going shade with any colour for a calm, refined and minimalist look. Its adaptability is infinite, making it a perfect choice for contemporary interior design.


High spirits, hope and joie de vivre, Illuminating yellow lives up to its name: it shines! From this bright, inspiring and energetic colour emanates light.

Proclaiming a bright tomorrow, a reassuring smile, and comforting warmth, it is a symbol of friendship, fraternity and kindness; qualities that warm the heart and rekindle hope. Used sparingly, yellow can brighten up your walls, as well as widen and energise a space, to transform it into a place dedicated to well-being.


According to Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute: "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 color combination that gives us resilience and hope." She reminds us of an important, healing message: "We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit."

Grey and yellow are setting the tone. On a metaphorical level, this combination reminds us of how important it is to support one another, so that we can face the future with confidence. So why not combine these two complementary shades for a soothing, elegant and balanced interior, and bring a touch of light and softness to your home.

After a stormy year, this marriage of colours—signifying strength and optimism—is exactly what we need, promising better days yet to come and the comfort of calmer surroundings, both literally and figuratively. Fingers crossed that these colours are a better reflection of the year ahead!

Text: Roxane Pronier

Translation: Anna Fleck