Pantone Color(s) of the Year 2021: A Shout-out to Optimism and Strength

Pantone just announced, not the color, but the Colors of the Year 2021: PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating, a vibrant yellow, and PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray, a neutral gray. The Institute of Color has defined this combination as “a marriage of optimism and strength”. 

Though expectations were high, the selection comes as a surprise to all of us. Not only because it’s the first time that a neutral color is selected as the Color of the Year, but also because the meaning behind this selection is powerful and accurate to the times we’re living.

Last year, Classic Blue was picked to represent a time of change and the start of a new decade. As a sort of premonition, this blue shade has been part of many unpredictable changes that have marked 2020 all around the globe. We were expecting something that has us looking forward to the future, and here it is!

At Freepik Company, as an international referent for graphic resources, we enthusiastically embrace Pantone selection and offer you a wide variety of resources using Illuminating and Ultimate Gray. We’ve compiled color palettes, collections, and free downloadable resources from Freepik, Flaticon, and Slidesgo so you can incorporate this uplifting combo into your 2021.

The meaning behind Illuminating and Ultimate Gray

There is always extensive research based on industry and fashion trends behind Pantone’s choice. However, due to the current pandemic that has stricken the entire world, there’s a need to feel that there’s more to it, that everything will get brighter at the end. That’s what Illuminating and Ultimate Gray are all about. 

Illuminating is presented as a vibrant yellow that reminds us of happiness, vivacity, and sunshine, while Ultimate Gray is a neutral gray that reminds us of everlasting elements and steadiness. 

“The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” said Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute. 

They are two different colors with independent meanings, but they complement each other. Think of the two colors separately, and then think of them as a combination. That’s when the magic occurs. Because there are no lights without shades.

The optimism behind Illuminating yellow stands out against the solidity and fortitude of the neutrality of Ultimate Gray, creating a powerful union of hope and resilience that keeps us thinking of a brighter future to come. And it’s not surprising that this is the message we need right now.

Color Of The Year 2021 and other palettes

Having two colors gives us scope for multiple color combinations, which is great. However, it might not be as easy as it seems when the two colors are so different.

Here are some ideas of color palettes that include Pantone Illuminating and Ultimate Gray so you can incorporate these hues into your creative works: 


Freepik joins COTY 2021

We have been waiting for the announcement to arrive and, finally, it’s here! Our team has worked hard so you can have access to lots of resources featuring Color of the Year 2021 before anyone else. 

Illuminating and Ultimate Gray has already entered Freepik to stay with us the upcoming year. Click on the images below and enjoy our brand-new vector, photo and PSD collections:

color of the year 2021 freepik collections
color of the year 2021 freepik collections
color of the year 2021 freepik collections
Free resources made for you

We’re definitely into the Color of the Year mood and want to share it with you. Get this freebie full of yellow and gray shades with exclusive vectors, photos, PSD files, icons, and presentation by Freepik, Flaticon, and Slidesgo.


Get the freebie!