Pantone colors of the year list - 2021

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Pantone colors of the year list - 2021
August 25, 2021

Are you wondering what the Pantone color of the year for 2021 is yet? We’re giving you straight answers here with our Pantone colors of the year list.

We also set out some definitions of Pantene, its compositions, and what this means to complement 2021’s Pantone color of the year impressions. So, especially for those new or looking to complete their understanding of Pantone colors, here’s a brief FAQ.

Just skip to the bottom if you’d like to get right to the heart of our color list. 

What’s a Pantone color?

When we speak of Pantone, we’re talking about a standardized color matching system. This specific system stands on about 1,000 particular colors that are each assigned a given number. In addition, they come with suffixes that define the type of paper in which a job will be printed, for example, or they carry a specific number that signals what its plastic components are. 

There’s more to that but, to stick to simple terms, think of Pantone as a sort of color control that runs at a global scale. The idea is to give designers and anyone doing printing a more specific guide and precision as to what colors to mix and match for their printing jobs. 

How is Pantone different (from CMYK)?

Aside from Pantone, there are other (usually more widely known) color systems. 

On that note, we’ve all probably heard of colors such as cyan and magenta with our inkjet home or local office printer cartridges, right? 

Well, when it comes to printing, there are four traditional color bases. The acronym for the most famous one is CMYK, precisely. It simply stands for the colors on which it works; cyan, magenta, yellow and black. 

Pantone highlights

Contrary to CMYK, Pantone is more color-specific, which allows this system to be much more precise. In addition, Pantone matches colors, so to speak, which is why it is also called Pantone Matching System. 

So, accuracy is the main difference between CMYK and Pantone. With the latter, printing jobs can come closer to what digital design expects than what CMYK can produce, especially in terms of shades. 

However, consider that each printing job with Pantone requires that the printing machine be set up precisely for the tones being used. Therefore, printing small jobs can quickly become much costlier than any CMYK gig. 

Why are Pantone colors important?

As a system, Pantone standardizes color matching to come up with consistent products. 

Think about a manufacturer far away from your location whom you need to print out your startup’s logo, for example. Pantone provides reliability to get your precise color match printed out with a consistency you can trust. 

The above is especially valuable when it comes to packaging and artwork, for example. If you’re going for full-color pictures, CMYK can best do the trick, perhaps. But any logo or stationery kind of print work can come out looking more OK with your Pantone print ally. 

Overall, we can think of Pantone as a sure way to let printers or manufacturers know the exact color requirements our designers created. And thus ascertain color accuracy in what we print out or create for our companies at any given point or location. 

Branding feeds off a perfect translation of what our design team has worked so hard to achieve. We know that. And Pantone is a way to make that happen seamlessly and flawlessly. 

So, which are the colors of the year for Pantone’s color system? Let’s get to that now. And you know what we’re going to give you?

Pantone 2021 colors of the year

Nothing but Pantone’s own best bet for this year in terms of color matches. 

Yep! Pantone has deemed two colors their winners for 2021 for several reasons; this isn’t us imposing any preferences. And those are PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating, which are a kind of gray and a specific type of yellow (informally speaking.) 

Why these colors, Pantone?

You might ask. Don’t you? We certainly do. And here’s their argument. 

For these color owners, let’s say they refer to “two independent colors that highlight how different elements come together to support one another.” In their account and presentation of the pair, the company is going for “Practical and rock-solid, but at the same time warming and optimistic,” considering their “union is one of strength and positivity.”

In their words, they’re going for “deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly” in their color mix. And have coupled this with airs of happiness that are mixed in with strength. 

Of course, these colors making it as colors of the year have to do with a message of hope and knowing everything will get better, especially coming from quite a year in 2020, perhaps. So, the idea is to resort to Pantone colors of the year for messages of energy, vitality, clarity, and hope that mix in with the uncertainty and shades that the gray portrays. 

In the end, the gray stands for this solid and trustworthy foundation full of what Pantone labels as “composure, steadiness, and resilience,” which can be pretty encouraging. 

Since Pantone can be deemed a color matching system, as we said before, the blend between this specific yellow and their tone of gray together is meant to enclose and communicate a notion of the cheerful yellow with a solid gray; it’s about an optimist take at something that’s also rock solid. 

Feel free to read more about it on these colors’ official Pantone page if you’d like to find out more. 

Pantone colors of the year color value

Also, just to spare you a bit of digging up, here are the color values for the gray:

RGB 150 153 156

HEX/HTML 96999

That link above will take you to the different products available at Pantone for it, as well. And the same applies to the illuminating tone, for which the values are:

RGB 245 223 77


We sincerely hope this has helped. And we’ll catch you by the printer! 

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Pantone colors of the year list - 2021
Angelica A.
Freelance and Remote Web Content Writer is the current hat under which Ang keeps on the global move. Writing blogs, website content and (especially) Facebook ads for diverse small businesses, entrepreneurs and international parties is part of the common work under Ang's belt. Otherwise, you'll see Ang riding a motorcycle on their vegan way out of theater rehearsal.
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