Pantone inspires with a much needed vibrance of colors

A new year deserves a fresh new outlook on color. Pantone just introduced not one but two colors for 2021: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating (17-5104 and 13-0647 respectively).

Notably, this is only the second time in Pantone’s history that they revealed two colors for Color of the Year. The yellow shade of Illuminating is optimistic, exactly what we all need after 2020, the year that will go down in history as one of the most challenging in our collective history.

As for Ultimate Gray, it’s a stoic color of resilience and endurance. When paired with the sunny yellow, you cannot NOT feel positivity and cheer.

In their press release for the reveal, Pantone described the colors like this:

“As people look for ways to fortify themselves with energy, clarity and hope to overcome the continuing uncertainty, spirited and emboldening shades satisfy our quest for vitality. Illuminating is a bright and cheerful yellow sparkling with vivacity, a warming yellow shade imbued with solar power.

Ultimate Gray is emblematic of solid and dependable elements which are everlasting and provide a firm foundation. The colors of pebbles on the beach and natural elements whose weathered appearance highlights an ability to stand the test of time, Ultimate Gray quietly assures, encouraging feelings of composure, steadiness and resilience.”

Pantone has been announcing a color of the year now for twenty years. They often look at the current status of the times we are living in and respond in kind with a color suggestion that reflects where we are – but also where we could go.

That is the case here with the two colors, gray represents where we have been in 2020, and the hopefulness for an inspiring new year is shown with the yellow Illuminating hue.

For our design industry, having two colors helps us think about color in context of the built environment. Ultimate Gray can be used as a neutral element, with Illuminating as a bright color pop used in flooring, paint, textiles, and tile. Check out our flooring palette showing how you can use the two hues together. And may 2021 be sunny and cheery as predicted!

Inspired by the dual nature of the Pantone Color of the Year, our design team re-imagined some of our favorite collections in hues of gray and yellow.

If you’re inspired to do the same, you can follow their lead and re-color our flooring patterns using our Personal Studio online design tool! It’s easy to personalize our patterns simply by changing the colors with a click of a button. Explore Personal Studio and see what you can create with Pantone’s 2021 color inspiration!

Featured Mohawk Group Flooring Collections

Street Thread Collection – Taped Off 149 Cool
Street Thread Collection – Pop Icon 149 Cool
ColorBeat – Lemon Zest 121
Draft Point – 959 Pewter
Pivot Point Textile – Grounded 969
Matuto Stone Plus – Lemon Twist Stone 131A


Royce Epstein, Mohawk Group A&D Design Director

Royce Epstein is the A&D Design Director for Mohawk Group.
As the face to A&D, Royce shares her passion and vision for design, cultural trends, and the meaning of materials in a broad context. Her role is to evolve and share Mohawk Group’s Design Vision with the A&D community, and to leverage product design with what A&D desires in the field. Constantly on the watch for new trends in all aspects of design and culture, Royce feeds this insight to all our industry’s touch points.

A veteran materials and product specialist, Royce spent two decades working in A&D firms before working with Mohawk. She was named the 2015 Designer of the Year by Interiors and Sources Magazine, and received a HiP award for Rising Star from Interior Design Magazine at Neocon 2016. Royce lives in Philadelphia where she is active in the design, art, and music scenes. She is a board member of Collab at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.