Pantone picks two 2021 Colors of the Year: Illuminating, and Ultimate Gray

Originally published at:

I am uninspired by these colors.

This year was rather dark, grey, and was spent battling jaundiced news only to have it spread like hepatitis or cholera.

As we isolate, as we should, and our mental health deteriorates, are we to creep around behind Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Illuminating Yellow Wallpaper (text of). It too seems like we are living in the the ultimate manifestation of The Picture of Dorian Gray (text of).

Perhaps these are truly the most hopeful colors to represent 2020, but perhaps naming them Social Distance Grey and Alternative Facts Purple¹ ² might have been more correct.

Additional notes: Lovely to see the NIH, the National Institutes of Health in the U.S., is hosting a copy of the Yellow Wallpaper, 1892. It is short read, and worth it. An audio recording of it is here, recorded and posted Elizabeth Klett on 2013 02 08.


Same here. I like when they at least have silly names, like the “Vibrant Orchid” of a few years ago.
I first read it as “Ruminating Yellow” and thought that was a better match for our times.


So basically, ‘Caution Tape’ and ‘Sweatpants’. Seems legit.


My wife is a fan of HGTV, so I’ve been inundated in shades of “modern” grey paint for several years. This choice follows the HGTV pattern: dismal grey house with a “lively accent” in the form of a yellow door. Blah.


Fire Yellow and Dumpster Grey. Inspiring…NOT.


Colors of the Year?

Just shilling for Pantone’s PR dept.

Colors of the year, my arse


These are almost the shades used by my local library, so at least they’ll be hip and with it this year.


They should have come here for color names.


28 shades of grey:

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As a cat owner I have suggestions for that yellow.


I live for the day when “designers” stop making everything look like startup branding.

What a joke.

Surely you aren’t suggesting that Pantone is taking the piss here?


I’ll stick my neck out and say that Ultimate Gray looks really nice. The color gray is appealing aesthetically and “philosophically” to me, so this is all good.

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If you’re actually turning to Pantone for colors, their palette page can be useful:

And I agree with most commenters, the yellow and gray are uninspired.

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That page reminded me of a silly game we made up a few years ago. We were doing a complete rehab of our old farmhouse and ended up with tons of those paint sample cards, the kind with about 5 shades on each card. One day, all slap-happy from work, we realized that they were the perfect source material for a mix and match “pick your porn name” game. From the nature palette you linked, I already got “Ethereal Apple.” :slight_smile:
Good memories. So glad those renovations are done.


Should have paired it with a “#2 Coffee.”


Or this eerily prophetic color name that autocorrect came up with:

Too bad damnyouautocorrect dot com inevitably ended up in the hands of a domain squatter.


More of a niche porn name, but it could work! :joy:

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