13th January 2021

Pantone Colours of the Year 2021

This year, the global colour authority Pantone has selected two Colours of the Year. The shades – PANTONE 17-5104 Ultimate Gray and PANTONE 13-0647 Illuminating- have been picked as an aspirational colour pairing that conjures deep thoughtfulness and feeling as well as optimism.

Illuminating is characterized by a sunny, yellow vivacity imbued with solar power, while the Ultimate Gray is emblematic of elements both solid and everlasting.

“The selection of two independent colours highlight how different elements come together to express a message of strength and hopefulness that is both enduring and uplifting, conveying the idea that it’s not about one colour or one person, it’s about more than one,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Colour Institute.

“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 colour combination that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encouraged and uplifted, this is essential to the human spirit.”

Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Colour Institute, adds: “The Pantone Colour of the Year reflects what is taking place in our global culture, expressing what people are looking for that colour can hope to answer. As society continues to recognize colour as a critical form of communication, and a way to symbolize thoughts and ideas, many designers and brands are embracing the language of colour to engage and connect.”

Pantone 2021 colours in Design

“Ultimate Gray and Illuminating do not have to be used in equal proportions, the company noted. Either colour can take precedence whether for apparel, furnishings, product design or packaging.” Hotel Management 

Pantone have suggested that Ultimate Gray and Illuminating can work in harmony together to set both an uplifting yet grounded mood in guestrooms or lobbies, adding a much needed dose of hope and positivity.

Writing on behalf of Hotel Designs, brand strategist Emma Potter says, “Hotel interior design is deeper than simply decorating, colour schemes have the ability to cleverly transform and/or evoke emotions and designing with purpose as a whole will result in space that is more functional, more inviting and more appropriate to the guests checking in.”

Colour selection is a critical part of the design process at Ulster Carpets; it helps create depth and breathe life into what has been imagined. With over 650 colours to choose from plus the ability to custom dye to find that elusive shade, Ulster’s creative team can help enhance an interiors designer’s scheme from the floor up.

Examples of designs using greys and yellows from Ulster’s online Design Portal.


Thanks to Ulster’s unique advanced weaving technology we have total design freedom allowing our designers to maximise their colour usage to suit every brief.

Matthew Weaver, a Senior Field Designer at Ulster, says “Adding colour into carpet really brings the floor to life. It can be as simple as choosing a signature colour from the client’s design scheme to unite the carpet with cushions, artwork and wallpaper. Whether it’s a calming soft blue tone in a spa area alongside neutrals or a bold infusion of orange and teal in a restaurant, colour adds value and completes the story.”

Take a look at our projects page to see some examples of our design capabilities.


Contact our team for more information on our custom contract design service or our online archive, Design Portal.