Breaking News: Formica’s 100th Anniversary designs include retro style counter top patterns and colors — hurray for color and pattern!

“The patterns and colors… acknowledge the brand’s past – especially with designers such as Brooks Stevens
and Raymond Loewy – but without delving into nostalgia…
— Designer Abbott Miller

Formica-100th-anniversary collectionYup, the day is finally here — Formica is announcing its much anticipated 100th Anniversary Collection. One minute after launch, we have all the new patterns ready to show to you. And, yes: Hurray! for color and pattern! — We have some great new Formica patterns for your kitchen counter tops and bathroom counter tops to add to our archive of retro-worthy laminate options. What do I like about these new designs:

  • Homeowners wanting classic cherry red counter tops will most likely be happy to see Formica’s new Ellipse design in red. It’s nice to have a tone-on-tone red again that doesn’t cost a small fortune (our current “reds” of choice are Arborite Xania, which is not tone-on-tone… and crackle ice laminate, with is highly pixelated and expensive.)
  • The patterns on the Halftone and Dotscreen designs are downright fun — and that orange in the Halftone is downright Brady Bunch. However, these are more so 1970s colors, rather than immediate postwar colors. Not that I mind, of course, but folks wanting aqua and coral and baby blue didn’ get ’em’. Note — I’m declaring the orange is the same as my 2011 color of the year… the blue the same as my 2012 color of the year and the green, not too far off my 2013 color of the year. Let me say it again: Hurray for real color and pattern!
  • Yes, Formica gave us some real colors… not just gray. Of course, there still are lots of grays. Grays are “in” today, and to be sure, offer a neutral alternative. (If you want retro grays, there are numerous additional alternatives from Formica, and other manufacturers.) Even so, it seems like Formica is banking on the appeal of its retro heritage with all these designs — these new designs offer edgy, FUN, graphic patterns, not stone or granite, like the mass of new laminate patterns today. Hurray!


Nicely done, Formica. Not to appear immediately ungrateful but now, can you give us some more!? xoxo

Formica-Anniversary-Collection-samplesDetails on how much, where to get, and when:

  • Same pricing as standard laminate.
  • Not promoted in the big box stores initially but if a consumer asked for it they would be able to order it from them.
  • Available January 31st.

Read on for the complete news release from Formica, along with ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHY from the announcement AND a slide show with the images bigger, too:

Endless-Greytone-formica-anniversary-Mint-DotscreenFormica Group Celebrates 100 Years in 2013
with the Formica
® Brand Laminate Anniversary Collection

Exclusively designed by world-renowned design firm Pentagram

Cincinnati (Jan. 22, 2013) — Formica Group, the original inventor of laminate, celebrates 100 years with a fresh take on its iconic Formica® brand laminate. The 2013 Anniversary Collection features 12 new patterns that reflect the Formica® brand and its history.

See the “natural” edge? I think this substrate is called “Appleply.” Or, that is one of the brands. Very cool – very “modern” in that it lets the “authenticity” of the material show. Must be very trendy now. I like.

“While Formica Group invented laminate, designers are credited with realizing its full potential as a stylish and desirable surfacing material,” said Renee Hytry Derrington, Group VP of Design for Fletcher Building’s Laminates & Panels Division, which includes Formica Group. “The Anniversary Collection is just one example of our commitment to continue the joint exploration with the design community to define the future of Formica Group in the next 100 years.”

Collaboration with World-Renowned Design Firm Pentagram

Pentagram, the world’s largest independent design consultancy, created the collection exclusively for Formica Group. Pentagram partner Abbott Miller designed the anniversary patterns, introducing characteristics and colors that are new to the range.

“Developing this iconic brand’s 100-year Anniversary Collection was inspiring,” Miller shared. “Formica laminate is extraordinary because of its Zelig-like nature, blurring the past, present and future while completely crossing all social and economic categories. It’s a material with distinctive tactility, a warmth and domesticity; it’s man-made, yet has attained a natural quality in our lives.”

Formica-Red-Ellipse-Anniversary-collectionRed-Ellipse-formica-anniversary-collectionnew-formica-anniversary-collection-Endless-GreytoneEndless-Greytone-formica-anniversary-Mint-DotscreenAnniversary-collection-White-Ellipse-formicaFormica-Endless-Greytone-Mint-Dotscreen_4Formica-Anniversary-Endless-GreytoneFormica-Anniversary-collection-White-EllipseFormica-Anniversary-collection-Neutral-Twill-Tangelo-DotscreenMint-Dotscreen-formica-anniversary-collectionWhite-Ellipse-Formica-AnniversaryWhite-Ellipse-Formica-Anniversary-collectionMiller’s vision for the Formica® Laminate Anniversary Collection underscores the material’s limitless design potential. “The heart and soul of Formica laminate is a printed sheet. Pattern and color are intrinsic to the culture of the company, so exploring the translucency of ink and the interaction of pattern and color was a natural area for me.”

Formica-Anniversary-Collection-White-Ellipse-close-upTwelve New Patterns in Four Collections:  Ellipse™ Collection, Endless™ Collection, Dotscreen™ Collection and Halftone™ Collection.

Ellipse and Endlessplay off the anniversary theme “Formica Forever” by utilizing innovative printing techniques that allow independent layers of pattern to randomly interact during the course of printing. The method creates seemingly infinite patterns that appear consistent due to the fluidity of the overlapping elements. Unlike most patterns that repeat every 50 inches, the pattern repeat of Ellipse and Endless only occur every 500 to 700 sheets, the equivalent to more than a mile in length.

Ellipse design
  • Ellipse uses the “hidden oval” in the iconic Formica® brand logo to create a series of layered strands that ripple across the surface.
    • 6613 White Ellipse – a tonal non-color
    • 6614 Gray Ellipse – a classic gray
    • 1913 Red Ellipse – a strong red (The signature color of Formica Group features 1913, the year the company was founded, as its product code.)
Endless design
  • Endlesscreates a digital grain from bars that alternately layer and punch through a colored base. The result is a continuous tone-on-tone, architectural pattern that provides visual interest at close range and, from a distance, provides a geometric texture.
    • 6610 Endless Graytone – a versatile gray-on-gray
    • 6611 Endless Smoke – an ebony that recalls carbon and mica
    • 6612 Endless Indigo – a deep inky blue

Dotscreenand Halftonecelebrate Formica Group’s history of exuberant color and printing technology. Both Dotscreen and Halftone feature “solid patterns” of bright and saturated colors made more complex by undercurrents of detailed patterning. Fine dot motifs provide a second scale of interest within the optimistic hues.

  • Dotscreenfeatures luminous colors with extremely fine micro-dots in continuous ribbons.
    • 6615 Aqua Dotscreen – a distinctive sky blue
    • 6616 Mint Dotscreen – a vegetal green
    • 6617 Tangelo Dotscreen – a soft orange
Halftone design
  • Halftonefeatures “near-bright” colors patterned with various sizes of toned dots, reminiscent of halftone printing screens.
    • 6618 Blueberry Halftone – a medium-toned blue
    • 6619 Citrus Halftone – a bright lemon yellow
    • 6620 Tangelo Halftone – a soft orange

Each Anniversary Collection pattern contains a subtle, tone-on-tone Formica® brand watermark embedded into the design on every sheet.

“The patterns and colors of the Anniversary Collection acknowledge the brand’s past – especially with designers such as Brooks Stevens and Raymond Loewy – but without delving into nostalgia,” Miller said. “While the collection aligns with the brand’s heritage, it offers surfacing design that is unique in the market. It also was satisfying to know that we were pushing the technical boundaries of print.”

Formica-Anniversary-Endless-Greytone-Mint-DotscreenIn addition to the Anniversary Collection, Pentagram’s Miller and partners Michael Bierut and Daniel Weil collaborated on Formica Group’s anniversary brand elements, Formica Forever book and display concept.

About Pentagram & Abbott Miller

Pentagram is the world’s largest independent design consultancy with offices in London, New York City, San Francisco, Berlin and Austin. A partner in Pentagram’s New York City office since 1999, Abbott Miller has designed award-winning identities, exhibitions, environmental graphics and multi-media projects. He has received numerous design honors and his work is included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, SFMoMA, and the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum. He is the author of several books and numerous essays on design.

About Formica Group

Formica Group globally leads the industry in the design, manufacture and distribution of surfacing materials. Part of Fletcher Building’s Laminates & Panels Division, Formica Group is global group of companies consisting of Formica Canada, Inc., Formica Corporation, Formica de Mexico S.A. de C.V., Formica IKI Oy, Formica Limited, Formica S.A., Formica S.A.S., Formica Taiwan Corporation, Formica (Thailand) Co., Ltd., and Formica (Asia) Ltd., Homapal GmbH, among others.

 Please Note: Formica® and the Formica® Anvil Logo are registered trademarks and Formica Forever™, the Formica® Anvil Logo Forever, the Formica Forever™ ellipse logo, Ellipse™, Endless™, Dotscreen™ and Halftone™ are the trademarks of The Diller Corporation.  Ellipse and Endless designs are the protected designs of The Diller Corporation.  ©2013 The Diller Corporation.  All Rights Reserved.

A Fletcher Building Company

And: You can see all the images double size in this gallery:

  1. margaret donohue says:

    getting ready to replace formica countertop in my original knotty pine 50’s-60’s kitchen. Pam (or anyone) do you think the Eclipse still has that vintage feel to it? I thought it looked kind of modern. I got a sample of the Xabia Red Matte and I thought that was the way to go…if there is a thread where there’s an answer point me to it…..I know it’s a drag to repeat yourself…I am on my own with restoration here so I need to go the the experts I trust – Retro Rennovation. I will order a large sample of the Eclipse if I can find it…I got the Xabia. That pretty much looks like what my Mom had before she exchanged it for the beige (the 80’s ..it was all about the sage, peach, seafoam, mauve, beige..etc. LOL)

  2. Neil says:

    For the life of me, I can’t figure out why a light bulb doesn’t turn on in some company president’s thick head and let him (or her) have the bright idea of reproducing cracked-ice laminate! (In all five colors, plus pink and purple please.)There’s never been another pattern since that has the charm and character and esthetic durability that cracked-ice had, and still has in spades on all the countless vintage kitchen tables still being treasured by lucky people all over the country.
    Years ago, while shopping in a “mill-ends and job-lots” fabric store here in San Francisco I happened across a heart-stopping stash of reproduction cracked-ice vinyl, a dead-on match for the original! Oh-mamma! And not the unwieldy, $40-dollar-a-yard, glossy stuff you can buy on line these days, either. This was thinner and more pliable and a truer finish to the vintage goods. There were 4 thick rolls of gray and 4 of red, and I snatched all of them up so fast my head was swimming, never mind the outlay of cash!
    We used to sell a lot of vintage cracked-ice table sets, which we reliably found with damaged chair vinyl, natch, and having this new vinyl to recover the chairs was like manna from heaven, I can tell you. In spite of the rare, lightning-strike luck of finding gray and red, I did pine for yellow and green and blue too, of course. Never hurts to implore the Vintage Deities, however unlikely a favorable response. But I never saw another single inch, in any color, and could never track down where my precious rolls had originated. It was great while it lasted…

    1. pam kueber says:

      See our category Kitchens/Countertops. We spotlight edging from two places — RetroTrims.com and New York Metals.

  3. Sylva... says:

    well ! whew what a read! PLEASE HELP> we are looking at purchasing a house which was built in 1950’s and COMPLETELY covered ALL walls in the WHOLE 5 bedroom house in 1970’s Formica. I am in New Zealand. Now; while most folk will be clamoring to rip it all off.. It is actually in excellent condition. HOWEVER I don’t really like it-yet.. but quite happy for it to stay for some time…happy to live with it BUT we are planning to offer the back attached two bedroom flat, for paying guests. HELP !!! I need some ideas to decorate this whole area so it still looks classy and very suitable for paying guests. Can you or your groups help? Thank you!!

    1. Deb says:

      I would love to see this. I’m sorry you didn’t get a response, what did you end up doing. Is it possible to see photos.

  4. Cindy Friday says:

    Pam, do you know whether rounded edges can be cut using that natural edge look? I’m not sure I totally understand how that is made, but I like the look. I have 50s cabinets that have the little shelves in them on the rounded end. I want to save the birch cabinets which are not painted, but worn. I’m pondering whether to stick with replacing the pitted tile, or going with laminate. I’m sick of grout.

    1. Joe Felice says:

      You can get a wood-tone laminate for the edges, and it’s applied just like the top. There are dozens of wood tones, so you can probably find one tho match your existing cabinets. That was actually a popular trick back then.

  5. Scott says:

    The mailman just delivered my Red Ellipse swatch. I was so gung-ho on this pattern that upon delivery of the swatch I had planned on making a beeline to Home Depot to place my order, but sadly the swatch just doesn’t quite look quite like the photos. The colors and the contrast are very muted in comparision. Even the shapes in the print seem a little different somehow, slightly less elongated perhaps.

    Maybe a last minute decision was made to substantially tone the pattern and colors down? Whatever happened, its really quite a shame, I think the Red Ellipse as depicted in the photos would have been fantastic for my kitchen, and a hot seller for Formica.

    Sorry to be a downer, but I guess it’s back to the drawing board for me.

    1. pam kueber says:

      Scott, I reached out right away to Formica PR — they say the design is VERY VIBRANT. I have asked for large samples, 12″x12″ …. I am tending to think that you received something that was not printed correctly…. If you are really interested, I suggest asking for a larger piece. Call Customer Service – refer to this website — my sense is that they have worked very hard to get the word out and would not like to hear that their mailed samples are not representing the design effectively! Like… suggest they send you a nice sized piece so that you can reply/ update back here!

      1. Scott says:

        Pam, that’s a great idea, I never considered the possibility that it could have just been an issue with the swatch. I will see if they will send me a larger sample and I’ll report back as soon as I get it.

        I also used your reference guide “Where to find retro style laminate for kitchen and bathroom countertops” at


        which unlocked a few mysteries of the universe too! When I went into the Formica site as a “professional” instead of a “homeowner” I found a treasure trove of vibrant solid colors including Stop Red and Spectrum Red. I have swatches on those on the way too.

        As you can see, one way or another, I’ve become pretty committed to red countertops! 🙂

        As always, thanks for all the help and ideas, Pam, you’re the greatest!

        1. Scott says:

          Weeeeeeeeeell, I called Formica’s 800 number and explained my dilemma, that I had received the 2″ x 3″ swatch of Red Ellipse and felt it just didn’t look as lively as the online samples or the photos. I explained that I was still interested in the pattern however and wondered if maybe there was an issue with my swatch, and could they please send a larger sample so I could compare.

          I was told they can’t send swatches on the new styles until Friday, February 1, and was I put on hold to have that verified. They were at a loss how I was able to order the sample I did get. They also told me I could call back on Friday if I wanted. 🙁

          1. pam kueber says:

            Yes — my PR contact had told me that samples weren’t available yet. You should keep them, they are “historical” haha!

            1. Scott says:

              LOL, I’m thinking maybe Moderna, the Greek goddess of Cracked Ice is wielding her influences. 🙂

              I will make another attempt on Friday, and let you know what happens.

              1. Scott says:

                Okay, now that I have a 5″ x 7″ swatch of Red Ellipse to compare, it makes perfect sense why my original 2″ x 3″ sample didn’t seem as vibrant as the photos and swatches online.

                With a design that only repeats every 500 to 700 sheets, naturally some of the swatches are going to end up coming from parts of the pattern that are more subdued than others, as I now understand was the case with my first sample. Comparing both the old and new samples side by side it’s pretty impressive that both show completely unique sections of the pattern which share no overlapping areas whatsover.

                Long story short, a bigger sample will give you a much better idea what a nice, vibrant pattern this actually is, the 2″ x 3″ really doesn’t quite do it justice.

                  1. Scott says:

                    Yes, the big swatch made all the difference in the world, so Red Ellipse is still definitely in the running.

                    Formica’s Stop Red is pretty fanastic too and I would have never found that without your tip about looking at the commercial/professional sections. That’s where a lot of the really fun colors are tucked away. 🙂

                    1. Scott says:

                      Yes a gorgeous solid, and so far the best match I’ve found so far for my bright red vintage Cosco Stylaire step stool and rolling cart. 🙂

  6. Scott says:

    I dunno, I’m seeing several different decades here, but to me the Ellipse in red and gray have a definite early to mid-1960s vibe, evoking styles in abstract art and design already that were already in full-swing as well as the earliest stirrings of the mod look. I’ll even go out on a limb and say I think the Ellipse in the white could even make a very convincing 1950s presentation.

    I think these patterns are versatile enough that if you use your imagination you’ll be able to style them into the decade of your dreams.

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