Paper Matters Blog
The Meaning Behind the 2021 Pantone Color of The Year

On December 4, the 2021 Pantone Color of the Year was announced.  This year’s color is actually a marriage of two, that Pantone describes as both enduring and uplifting: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow.

Illuminating Yellow, a bright and cheerful shade, was chosen to provide energy and represents the hope to overcome uncertainty – which is something that is likely on everyone’s mind after a tumultuous year. Ultimate Gray, yellow’s supportive partner, quietly reassures and symbolizes solid and dependable elements such as pebbles on a beach. Apart, each color represents something important – but when paired together, the two create the feeling of “thoughtfulness with the optimistic promise of sunshine-filled day”. It will be interesting to see how the 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year will be used by brands.  Pantone advises that the colors don’t need to be used in equal proportions, as either color can take the lead.

For brands looking to utilize these colors in print, paper selection is key. Using a bright white, uncoated paper (like Cougar), will generate vivid, vibrant hues that pop off the page. Also, by choosing a paper known for its superior formation, you can be assured that the 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year will print with even coverage – making your job look its absolute best.

A tip when using Illuminating Yellow: consider using a touch plate of fluorescent or match yellow to make it pop. Adding fluorescence will make the yellow brighter than what can be obtained with conventional inks, while creating a clean and vibrant color. Fluorescent inks can be very transparent, and may require a double bump to achieve desired color density – but they are still a great option when you want to look great on a budget.

The 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year are also represented in Domtar’s Colors and HOTS® family of products. We offer similar shades of yellow paper and gray paper, in various sizes, weights and finishes. Think about incorporating pops of color in your next project. They add an unexpected element of surprise and can help your audience better retain information.

Regardless of which 2021 Pantone Color of the Year resonates with you – yellow, gray or a combination of the two – you can trust Domtar Paper to print them flawlessly.

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