Here’s to a colourful year.
The year of health panic is hopefully about to end, but it's quite possible that 2021 will still have room for the creative world to reflect on lockdown experiences. If you thought 2020 was quite chaotic in terms of colours, with bright and gloomy tones depending on different personalities around the globe, you'll be relieved to know that this year might be just as interesting, colour-wise.
Amidst all the seriousness that 2021 will most certainly bring – amidst all the monochrome, black & white and rough realism, we expect that warm and soothing colours will still carve their own space. If anything, I dare believe we’ll see them even more than we can anticipate.
When looking at the top graphic design trends for 2021, it’s inevitable to see a pattern of seriousness about to break through in the whole industry. And yet, people want to keep hopeful, playful, nature-inspired and oriented – and the best colour forecasts for 2021 show that much.
Top Colour Trends for 2021: Warm with Bright Accents
Most colour palettes for 2021 are generally expected to be warm with bright accents. Both contrasting and soothing colours will make their appearance below and they all seem to have been gathered under the same purpose: to keep hopes up, evoke sunshine and quiet, yet bold identities looking forward to breaking free.
Without further ado, let’s dive right into it: what are the colours of 2021?
Purple, purple, purple!
Of course we knew that when we made our own beautiful Annual 2020. We were just a bit ahead of times. It happens.
In all shades and hues, I can’t help but feel a sense of intrigue and comfort when exposed to purple pairings. Soothing and calming, purple seems to be quite popular right now and it has just the right tones to achieve that deep, dark and warm feel which will be quite sought after this year.
Purple pairings feel cocooning and comforting, just what we need in a year like no other. Are dark colours the way to go after an already gloomy year? Not sure about that. But who are we to judge when they look so great?
Image credit: SomeOne
Image credit: Simon Waloszek
It's nice to know we were about one year ahead with our lovely Annual 2020.
Browns & Golds
The road is long, the path is arduous, but all in all, 2020 has been an okay year for sustainability.
Fewer people were driving and flying, and the planet has shown some encouraging signs of very early recovery. 2021 is sure to bring this trend forward, and the most popular colour palettes reflect this push for nature that seems to be making people quite a lot more conscious of our planet's health. Browns and golds will dominate across the board, with earthy and nature-inspired tones to bring some warmth and comfort in our lives.
Bright accents, such as yellow to evoke sunlight, are expected to appear as well. And what do you know, even Pantone seems to agree with that (more on that later). Surely these warm tones will reflect the eager spirits which have been constrained to remain home for a year, now longing for some sunlight to enjoy life like they used to. One Prêt sandwich at a time.
Image credit: Designlsc
Image credit: Anna Fernandez
Image credit: Elena Palias
Green & Pastel
Yet another interesting trend is the Green & Pastel pairing. Alongside all the earthy tones that will dominate this year, it seems that pastels will still be quite present to bring soft tones amidst all the dark and warm colours of 2021.
We are likely to see a range of unusual combinations that will create some interesting and contrasting effects, making artworks and creative projects all around the world quite a lot more interesting. Plus, they're so beautiful to look at!
Image credit: SomeOne
Image credit: Jimmy Delatour
Video credit: Del Mak
Bold & Bright Palettes
Lastly, as already mentioned and identified in our 2021 graphic design trends, this year will also be the year of Maximalism, Abstractionism and chaos. Playful colours, contrasting and extreme, will spice things up and make our days brighter in a year that will likely be dominated by yet some more realism and seriousness.
Blocks of strong, bright and warm colours are expected to dominate throughout the year, letting out a creative spirit that has been craving freedom for quite some time now. One example is the yellow accents already mentioned above, which will evoke warmth and sunlight. Certainly a breath of fresh air in these troubled times.
Image credit: Jhonny Núñez
Image credit: Simon Waloszek
Image credit: Jakub Horna
2021 Colours of the Year
Of course you could take our word for it, and I would be pleased to know that you do. The colours above are sure to make some nice and lovely appearances all throughout 2021.
If you are into art & design as we think, you should know that Pantone and others have also announced their colours for 2021, and they all seem to fall in line with what you've seen above. Here's some of the best ones we found!
Pantone Colour of the Year 2021
I couldn't not mention the two colours announced by Pantone for 2021. Illuminating and Ultimate Grey are the chosen pair for this year, and they seem to go perfectly well together.
While Illuminating (a bright yellow) is meant to evoke hope and sunshine as the clouds disperse, Ultimate Grey complements the picture with a spirit of community and camaraderie. The pair symbolises unity, stability and hope, a bunch of principles that will be very much needed this year. And I can’t wait to see what designers are going to do with these two!
Dulux Colour Forecast of 2021
Dulux, the international brand of architectural paint, clearly has a deep love for coloursand has been making colour forecasts since 2017. Looking forward to 2021, the company has announced not only a colour of the year for interior design & architecture, but also three sets of palettes that are sure to dominate the sector this year.
Brave Ground is the first of these and it was chosen by Dulux experts as the Dulux Colour of the Year. Featuring a warm and earthy tone, Brave Ground is meant to symbolise stability, growth and potential, and it is a warm natural neutral that can be easily adapted to a range of other warm colours. It’d be interesting to see how artists can experiment with that too.
Brave Ground. Credit: Dulux
Alongside its colour of the year, Dulux has also announced three sets of uplifting palettes for this 2021. Retreat, Nourish and Reset all appeal to a sense of nostalgic comfort, renewal and hope, with either earth-based hues or bright accents to make things a bit more exciting.
Dulux's 2021 Colour Forecast. Credit: Dulux
Shutterstock Colours of 2021
Shutterstock has of course also announced a set of colours for 2021 that seem to go particularly well all together. Again, Shutterstock leans towards optimism and hope as the main motif in its colour palette, with warm and earthy tone suggesting a sense of peaceful quiet and return to nature.
Set Sail Champagne, Fortuna Gold & Tidewater Green were the prime choices for this year, with the first two featuring bright and soothing tones shining with hope and optimism. What looks particularly interesting is the Tidewater Green – a deep teal hue which is meant to symbolise the cam of the ocean, hopefully guiding us all through these weird and uncharted waters.