Ultimate Grey & Illuminating

On Dec. 9, 2020 Pantone announced that its 2021 Colours of the Year are Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, shades chosen for their warmth and dependability.

2021 definitely needs some warmth and dependability and if the choice of colours is a sign of times to come, it’s definitely welcome. The Pantone news release announcing the colours described Illuminating as “a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power.” Ultimate Gray, like pebbles, is emblematic of “solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation.”

“The selection of two independent colours highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one colour or one person, it’s about more than one. The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a news release. “Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a colour combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”

Pantone’s ability to forecast colour trends is a marketing force that helps furniture, textile, fashion, accessory and technology designers choose designs from season to season. 


But would we see a little more of these colours in our daily leaves with businesses all across being provided a direction in terms of colour? Designers definitely think so.

“Yellow makes you happy and gray is the perfect neutral,” said designer Cortney Novogratz of The Novogratz. “We have always used yellow in our designs and products which are quite popular.”

There have been other voices that were pro and some not-so-pro to the choice of colours. But all in all they seem like an interesting combination. 

How would it affect the eyewear industry?

Would we see more eyewear in these colours? It would be interesting to assess if brands would consider these colours suitable for eyewear. It does look like a possibility but we’d have to wait for the launch of the next collection to really know this.

We’ve asked some prominent brands and eyewear designers whether they’d be experimenting with these colours or if they’ve already started using them in their designs. And we are awaiting their response. Stay tuned in.