X-Rite reveals Pantone Colour of the Year for 2021: Ultimate Gray + Illuminating

Print Industry News

X-Rite Incorporated and Pantone (Grand Rapids, Michigan), global leaders in colour science and technology, have announced that the official spectral colour values for Pantone 17-5104 Ultimate Gray + Pantone 13-0647 Illuminating are now available in PantoneLIVE, a cloud-based digital colour standard ecosystem. PantoneLIVE integrates across X-Rite’s digital workflow tools, allowing brands and their print suppliers to immediately start colour matching, formulating and accurately producing Ultimate Gray and Illuminating for a variety of print, packaging, wide-format, signage, industrial, and multimedia design applications.

Laurie Pressman.
Ray Cheydleur.
Pantone Ultimate Gray and Pantone Illuminating are its combined Colour of the Year for 2021.

“A marriage of strength and optimism, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating do not have to be used in equal proportions. Either colour can take precedence whether for print, packaging, beauty, or home furnishings,” said Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute.

“Producing Illuminating for its highest visibility and impact or Ultimate Gray for its versatility in packaging and store displays will require the right colour management software that can match the colour across corrugated, film, offset and digital to ensure that all the components match,” said Ray Cheydleur, Printing and Packaging Market Manager at X-Rite. “Together Pantone and X-Rite provide designers, brands, and their print suppliers with integrated solutions to streamline the design-to-production process. This includes tools for digital colour communication, ink formulation, colour measurement and quality control.”

Specifying Ultimate Gray and Illuminating in print and packaging design. Brand designers have two design platforms from which they can incorporate Ultimate Gray and Illuminating into their print and packaging design files. The new Pantone Connect platform provides designers with easy access to Pantone Color Libraries and palette creation tools from anywhere via mobile app, web, and within Adobe Creative Cloud. For packaging designers who need to visualize the impact of substrate, ink and print process on their chosen colour, PantoneLIVE Design simulates the appearance of Pantone colours on 36 packaging substrates so that the appearance of the final printed package can be evaluated.

Achieving Ultimate Gray and Illuminating in print production. To ensure consistent colour matching across materials, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating can be matched to its best-matching print colours – Pantone Cool Gray 7 C and Pantone 106 C from the Pantone Matching System (PMS) Solid Coated System for graphics. Brand owners, commercial printers and packaging converters can now use the libraries available through PantoneLIVE Production for Print & Packaging to access Pantone master colours and their corresponding dependent colour standards to ensure that each colour is accurately produced regardless of substrate, printing technology, or ink types used. PantoneLIVE colours are available within X-Rite’s InkFormulation Software, Color iQC Software and the ColorCert Suite of tools – as well as within a variety of third-party ecosystem software partners, providing printers with a total Pantone colour control solution. Brands and print suppliers can use PantoneLIVE and ColorCert Suite as part of a larger packaging quality control program to consistently achieve Ultimate Gray and Illuminating across their global suppliers. The combined solution delivers end-to-end print quality process control and reporting. This enables transparent and real-time evaluation of print and colour quality results using digital tools to eliminate the need for expensive and time-consuming on-site press checks.

About the Pantone Colour of the Year. To arrive at the selection each year, colour experts at the Pantone Color Institute search the world looking for new colour influences. This can include the entertainment industry and films in production, traveling art collections and new artists, fashion, all areas of design, popular travel destinations, as well as new lifestyles, play styles and socio-economic conditions. Influences may also originate from new technologies, materials, textures and effects that impact colour, relevant social media platforms, and even future sporting events that capture worldwide attention. For 22 years, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries – including fashion, home furnishings and industrial design – as well as in product packaging and graphic design.

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