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Opposites Attract in Pantone Colors of the Year

Researchers from Virginia Tech recommend well-fitted three-layer masks to help prevent the spread of COVID.

For 2021, the color institute chose Ultimate Gray and the vibrant yellow Illuminating, a combination that evokes both steadiness and hope.

After the tumultuousness and uncertainty that have defined much of 2020, people are looking both for rock-solid dependability and a bit of sunny optimism. Those two desires come together in Pantone’s 2021 Colors of the Year: Ultimate Gray and the vibrant yellow Illuminating.

“The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.”

Both color choices work well in the realm of promotional products. There are multiple ways to wear the combo as well.

The Newport jacket in yellow, with gray thread in the zippers and drawcords.

Newport Jacket The Newport jacket comes in yellow, with contrasting gray thread in the zippers and drawcord.

Another option is to layer the colors – pairing a yellow T-shirt under a hoodie in gray/white.

Newport Jacket The snag-proof polo is ideal for the office or the golf course.

We expect to see Ultimate Gray and Illuminating in a variety of demographics and markets next year, including healthcare, senior living, hospitality, service industries, transit and any market that wants their employees to feel and look their best.

This is the first time Pantone has given the Color of the Year crown to multiple hues since it chose Rose Quartz and Serenity for 2016. Last year, the institute chose Classic Blue, and the 2018 Color of the Year choice went to Living Coral.