Viewpoint for menu pin class add
Pantone picks two Colours of the Year 2021

Pantone picks two Colours of the Year 2021

Written by Hannah Benton
Posted on 26 Feb 2021
Time it takes to read: 4 min

Back to overview

What is Pantone Colour of the Year 2021? For those who don’t know, it’s a forecast of colour trends from Pantone for the year ahead.

Yellow and grey are Pantone’s Colours of the Year for 2021. To be more specific: PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating. They’re two independent colours that highlight how different elements come together to support one another and they best express the mood for Pantone Color of the Year 2021. The two colours are practical and rock-solid but at the same time warming and optimistic. The union of PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating is one of strength and positivity. It’s a story of colour that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly.

I have to be honest, this year’s colours are not what I anticipated following PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue from Pantone Colour of the Year 2020. The strong tones of the classic blue had robust finishes like denim as a reassuring, confident and calm colour. The contrast to the pairing from 2021 is vast and shows a new direction for colour trends this year.



We’re all well aware that 2020 brought us a global pandemic, but also brought us closer to nature and the prospects of a more analogue existence. We’ve had opportunities to soak up and appreciate our immediate surroundings, and the nature around us. This calming experience of peaceful nature, tonal seasonal colours of vibrant green mosses, flashes of colour from nature’s floral palette, and spectrums of colour from the wings of small birds brought an array of possibilities.

2016 saw the first occurrence of a duo colour pairing for Pantone Colour of the Year, and it was unexpected to see two colours again for 2021. I guess we should have known anything is possible this year. I think when it comes to colour, a colour pairing is so important.

If we break the colours down, Yellow (Illuminating) is a symbol of the nonbinary; reminiscent of sunshine, brighter days and springtime new growth. Ultimate Gray is strong, cool and suggests a balance to support the vibrancy of Illuminating.

Colour trends in design are showing more earthy natural tones, paired with warm familiar soft tones; reminiscent of soft furnishings and added tactile texture. Luxurious metallics seem to be changing too. Crisp vibrant shine is disappearing and softer finishes are appearing in their place. With them they bring patina, history and integrity to designs, developing on the identity stories.

It’s fair to say that the Pantone Colour of the Year always creates a difference in opinion as colour is so subjective. I’m initially not sold on this colour pairing at the moment, however, I’m known to change my mind as things grow and I’ve had a chance to sleep on it. It’s often the most surprising combinations that give the best results.

Want to know more on this topic?

We love hearing from you, if you want to know more please complete the form below.

1. bolt is now a HubSpot Platinum Partner Agency

We’re excited to announce that bolt is now a HubSpot Platinum Partner Agency!

Read more

2. Pantone picks two Colours of the Year 2021

What is Pantone Colour of the Year 2021? For those who don’t know, it’s a forecast of colour trends from Pantone for the year ahead.

Read more

3. How to create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey

There’s a reason it’s called the buyer’s journey. Customers don’t just purchase a product without any prior consideration. They go through a series of stages that leads them to the final purchase decision. Customers’ expectations are increasing and it’s important that you provide the information they need to make a...

Read more

4. What exactly is high quality content?

Marketers tell you that to truly engage your audience you must create high quality content. Your content has to be relevant and valuable for users to interact with your brand. Your content must also be optimised for search engines. You want your content to be deemed high quality by Google...

Read more