Pantone Colors of the Year 2021

Back in 2016, global color authorities at Pantone chose two colors for their Color of the Year: baby pink and blue.

For 2021, they’ve chosen two colors again: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, a bright lemon yellow. 

This is an interesting pair of colors. Gray isn’t even a color, just a shade, but certainly a basic neutral and perhaps a calming choice. Yellow, psychologists say, encourages creativity and intelligence…but also irritates people.

Pantone explains that the gray symbolizes fortitude, which we need as we continue on through the pandemic, while the yellow is hopeful and positive. We’re strong, the 2021 color story says, and things are going to get better. 

2021 websites

Finding websites in the colors chosen for the next year is often difficult. Many people flat out dislike the Color of the Year at the beginning of the year, even though we always come to love it, or at least to get used to it, by the end of the year. 

Tangerine, orchid, and emerald were all tough sells. 

But gray is everywhere, and it combines nicely with yellow. We’re not claiming that the screenshots we’re showing you are the price use Pantone shades, but they certainly show that gray and yellow combo.


Gareth Dickey has a broad band of gray and some gray text on his warm yellow site.

Bright yellow warms up this grayscale image.

The Yellow Pages obviously always use yellow, but this theme brings in some gray as well as the iconic black.

Is that monster gray? Not really. Change it to Ultimate Gray in your mind, though, and it will have the perfect 2021 look.

This theme uses multiple shades of yellow and gray.

I don’t know what these folks are selling, but their banana-bright yellow is very cheery.

The grayscale photo here sets up the background for those bright primary colors.

Will you want to use gray and yellow on your website next year?






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