Shape your presentations in Pantone’s 2021 Colors

February 6, 2021
Featured image for “Shape your presentations in Pantone’s 2021 Colors”

After one of the toughest years we faced in the last few years we deserve some light and hope in our lives. As 2020 seemed to never end and every month came with a different challenge Pantone shines bright and announces the colors of the year to come.

Welcome 2021, welcome Ultimate Gray and welcome Illuminating. 

A game changer for designers and brands that want to integrate this color in their work, as it’s the first time in the last 20 years when Pantone announced two colors of the year. Everyone who wants to keep up with the color institute will use these colors in their materials.

The Pantone Color Institute™ is a consulting service that forecasts color trends world wide. It’s advice is sought by brands in matters such as brand identity, product development, for the application and integration of color as a strategic asset. 


PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue

Looking in retrospective, 2020’s Classic Blue was there for us, a strong color, enduring all the challenges we faced. 

PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating

As pantone describes them:

A marriage of color conveying a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting.

The combination of these two colors is meant to inspire innovation, wisdom and intelligence. We are to put behind us the past and move forward towards new ways of thinking and progress. We invite you to use these colors in your everyday designs, as they are smooth and calming. 

The union of an enduring Ultimate Gray with the vibrant yellow Illuminating expresses a message of positivity supported by fortitude. Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, this is a color combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted; this is essential to the human spirit.

Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute


No matter the industry, we can find appliances in your presentation for the color of the year. We made a few examples and also took some inspiration from other designs in order to charge our presentations with the energy of 2021. 


1. Implement color schemes 

It’s not easy choosing the colors for a presentation, especially if you are not working with a brand that has an identity guide. Start with the main color that you want to have in the presentation and then consult a color wheel to help make the decision. 

Your template should have a color scheme according to the message you want to send, there are balanced color combinations or high-contrast ones. There are many tools you can use to create a color scheme based on Ultimate gray and Illuminating, such as Adobe’s Color Wheel or this Color Calculator.

Independently the color schemes will look like this:






But as they are together color of the year you need to integrate both of them in your design. 












2. Make it your background

Choose wisely, the background will be with you through the entire presentation. It is the foundation of your presentation, and with these colors your presentation will radiate energy. 

For solid backgrounds choose one of the two colors and work with the other on the elements of the presentation. 

The easiest and most straightforward way is to use it for a solid colored background. All you have to do is just:

Right ClickFormat BackgroundSolid ColorAdd Custom Color with the RGB Code: 245 – 223 – 77 (Illuminating) or 147 – 149 – 151 (Ultimate gray)


Go with a gradient background

In the last couple of years, gradient is taking over in a lot of designs, for apps, websites or logo’s. It’s more engaging and will get your audience attention where you want it to be. 

Everybody loved the announcement of the color of the year and so they started right away to use them. Here are some examples from where you can get inspired. 

Via Pantone Color

Via Adobe Stock 

Via Creative Market 

Via Creative Market


3. Add a color treatment to your visuals

You don’t need to look only for visuals that use these colors, you can apply the Illuminating and Ultra Gray vibe to your slides with color treatment. 

 3.2 Source approach

You can also source pictures that already were modified with the colors of the year. 

Via Adobe Stock

Via Adobe Stock


4. Presentation styles with Illuminating and Ultimate Gray

There are so many good examples and we love the good vibe and tranquility this combination of colors brings. You can use them for either serious and business presentations, but also to highlight solutions, ideas or advantages. 

Play with the colors and find your balance. 

We love the versatility of these colors, they bring the best in a presentation and really challenge your creativity. 

When life gives you lemons, put their color in a presentation. 

Show us how you used Illuminating and Ultimate Gray in your designs. 


Are you ready to take your presentations to the next level?


Our team can help with everything from researching your project, writing the content, designing and building your slides, and even creating handouts.

Get in touch


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