Color trends to try in 2020

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2020 is just around the corner, which means the world of design is about to see a host of new trends in the design space.

But when it comes to color, what are those trends going to look like? We spoke to two design experts—Dora Blaskievich of Charm Creative, a branding and graphic design studio in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Frederick Eschrich, senior designer at creative agency Someoddpilot and lecturer in visual communication design at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, to get their predictions on what’s going to be big in the world of color in the upcoming year.

When it comes to design, there’s no single element more impactful than color. The colors you incorporate into your design can completely change the look, feel, and perception of your work—which is why you need to choose your colors wisely.

And that includes choosing colors that feel on-trend.

But the definition of “on-trend” is constantly changing, and if you want your color palettes to fit that definition, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the world of design—and what color trends are emerging as the go-to standard for the upcoming year.

So, when it comes to color, what is “on-trend” going to mean in 2020? Let’s take a look at some of the biggest color trends predicted for the upcoming year—and how you can incorporate those trends into your designs:

Calming, nature-inspired palettes

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These cool green tones are calming and nature-inspired. Image via Pantone.

We live in a tech-focused culture. We’re constantly bombarded by information, distractions, and a seemingly endless array of new technology that demands our attention.

But as we move into 2020, all that tech is making a lot of people feel overwhelmed and stressed out—which is why it makes sense that one of next year’s biggest color trends is all about finding calm within the chaos.

Three of the world’s largest paint companies (Behr, Sherwin Williams, and PPG) recently released their 2020 color palettes, and there’s a clear theme across the board—colors inspired by the great outdoors (mainly greens and blues) that act as an antithesis to our tech-centric culture and evoke a sense of peace, calm, and tranquility.

“The faster technology moves and the more convenience it offers, the more we seek activities, experiences and lifestyles that impart slowness and realness into our lives,” said Dee Schlotter, senior color manager, PPG paint brand, in a recent Forbes article. “The need for simplicity and escapism from technology is, in part, the reason that consumers are craving blues like Chinese Porcelain that bring us closer to natural elements such as the sea and sky—creating serenity in any space.”

And while these paint companies are focused on predicting color trends in the world of interior design, the nature-inspired color trend is already making waves in other design arenas—a trend that’s projected to extend well into the upcoming year. “The nature trend has been very strong in graphic design in 2019, with lots of creams, browns, and greens seen on Instagram squares. There is also a strong focus on plants, all things cozy, and delicate plant illustrations use as design elements,” says Blaskievich of Charm Creative. “I don't believe this is going away any time soon.”

How to incorporate this trend into your designs

When choosing color palettes for your designs, look for nature-inspired shades—like greens, blues, creams, and browns—that is going to have a calming, soothing effect on your viewer. People are in desperate need of tranquility—and the more tranquility your designs (and color palette) inspires, the more on-trend it will feel in the upcoming year.

Nature-inspired color palettes are going to be everywhere in the design world in 2020—and that includes logo design. Embrace the colors of nature (and design an on-trend logo) with one of Canva’s logo templates, like the Green Leaves Environment Logo or the Blue Waves Environment Logo.

Bold, contrasting colors

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This Supreme crewneck sweater puts together pink and red. Image via StockX.

As mentioned, neutral color palettes are set to be a big 2020 color trend thanks to their ability to offer a subdued alternative to today’s sometimes stressful, in-your-face culture. But, according to Blaskievich, in-your-face color palettes are going to be just as on-trend. “There is also an emergence of pairing colors that are traditionally considered clashing: Red with light pink, or neon pink paired with periwinkle,” says Blaskievich. “These pairings create a bold aesthetic, but one that is also whimsical and playful.”

How to incorporate this trend into your designs

Don’t be afraid to go bold with your colors, but the key to using this trend successfully? Balance. Pairing bold, contrasting colors with neutrals can help tone done the intensity of the palette, making for a design that feels visually impactful—and not visually overwhelming. “Choose one or two vibrant/bold colors, and let neutrals do the rest,” says Blaskievich. “The neutral colors will allow the brighter colors to shine, as well as let the eye of the viewer have a break.”

Combining bold, contrasting colors is set to be one of the most fun color trends in 2020—and what better place to experiment with fun colors than social media? Embrace contrast (and have fun with it!) with one of Canva’s social graphic templates, like the Green and Pink Photo Digital Brutalism Travel Influencer YouTube Thumbnail Set or the Blue, Violet, and Orange Shapes Fitness Influencer YouTube Channel Art.

2020 color trends according to Pantone

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Fashion Color Trend Report by the Pantone Color Institute. Image via Pantone.

You can’t talk about design and color trends without talking about Pantone. Pantone is the world’s leading authority on color—and every year, their go-to colors (including their famed Color of the Year) drive trends in every design arena, from fashion to beauty to interior and graphic design.

Recently, Pantone released its Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2020 trend report and the go-to color palette with it.

So, what colors are included in that palette? Pantone’s spring/summer trend palette features a host of orange, reds, and blues along with four key neutrals to round out the palette—lark (a versatile khaki), navy blazer, brilliant white, and ash.

According to Pantone, “Colors for Spring/Summer 2020 New York express our desire for a sense of the familiar. Friendly and relatable, a palette of colors that conveys a sense of ease. At the same time, in this era of personalized self- expression, this palette of recognized favorites uses the familiar to take some unique twists and turns highlighting elements of humor, modernity, and entertainment.”

How to incorporate this trend into your designs

The shades in the Pantone palette are familiar, classic, and balanced. “The Pantone Spring/Summer NYFW...makes me think of a kind of return to a more modernist ideal of the thoughtful and balanced interaction of color,” says Frederick Eschrich, senior designer at creative agency Someoddpilot and lecturer in visual communication design at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

When creating your designs, look for ways to incorporate these shades in a way that will evoke a sense of familiarity with your audience. Ironically, classic is going to be on-trend in 2020—and building your designs around familiar color palettes will feel just as trendy as it does classic.

Oranges, reds, and blues feature prominently in Pantone’s 2020 Fashion Week Palette. Want to feature those colors prominently in your designs? Get the look with one of Canva’s palettes, like the Orange and White Speech Bubble Preschool Classroom Poster, the Red Patterned Circus Tent Carnival Poster, or the Dark Blue Prom Poster.

Pairing color and texture

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Changing perspective to 3D can also provide a different look on color. Image via EnvatoMarket.

Clearly, there are a number of color trends that are set to be big in 2020. But another trend that’s set to hit in the upcoming year goes beyond color—and, instead, is about pairing color and texture.

“From a graphic design, or visual design standpoint...I think it is important to note the prevalence and literacy with 3D rendering software such as Cinema 4D. These programs offer a more seamless simulation of material textures—polished metals, marble patterns, plasticine surfaces,” says Eschrich. “The interaction of colors...and these digitally rendered material surfaces speak to a more expanded color palette driven by texture.”

How to incorporate this trend into your designs

When creating your designs, think outside the box and go beyond just choosing colors—and, instead, think about new and interesting ways to combine color and texture. Add a metallic polish to a blue for a more impactful finish. Infuse texture to neutral colors to add visual interest to an otherwise muted design. Get creative in the way you bring together different colors and textures—and what you’ll end up with? Designs that feel completely on-trend in 2020.

Embrace the color trends of 2020

There are still a few months to go until 2020, but the color trends from the upcoming year are already starting to emerge. So all that’s left to do? Get out there, embrace the color trends of upcoming year, and use it to take your designs to the next (2020-inspired) level!

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