Colors tell the story of your business. They can both attract and repel an audience, and they’re a crucial component of any brand.
Like other design elements, the way colors are used constantly changes, depending on how careful or daring designers are willing to be at any given moment. For this reason, we update this post every year with the latest trends in the world of color and brand design – trends you should use to your advantage!
Whether you’re trying to keep your brand ahead of the curve or you need your daily dose of design inspiration, we’ve got you covered. Check out some of the top color trends killing it in 2020!
1. Bold is Beautiful
So far, the year in pop culture has been characterized by pushing boundaries and daring to be different (see Billie Eilish’s new album for reference). Design is no exception to this rule, as brands and designers alike are breaking out the bold!
If you’re feeling courageous, it may be a good time to give your designs a bold start, middle, and finish. Use saturated pinks and yellows for a vibrant and energetic look, or throw a pop of color over muted backgrounds to make part of an image stand out.
Note that bold colors are not for the faint-hearted; you really have to believe in what you’re selling when you go bold, because statement colors compel people to pay attention to your brand.
2. Candy Reds
The color of fire, lipstick, stop signs and roses, red is meant to be noticed, and it packs quite the aesthetic punch! In the past, this statement color has been used to accent otherwise tame palettes – but no longer. Designers are playing on the bricks and scarlets of the color wheel as a basis for brands that
scream passion and energy.
If your focus is on building a memorable brand, candy reds with various shadows can make for an unforgettable signature. Of course, make sure the values behind your brand coincide with the message of fire and fearlessness that red will send your audience!
We’re all about depth and exposure these days, and heavy saturation checks both of those boxes. From moody blues to vivid hues, bathing your brand in color is a 2019 essential.
Whether you stick with one hue or venture into the landscape of several, keeping the color pure gives your audience a visual experience they’ll want to get lost in. Saturation = commitment, so make sure you’ve chosen the right color before your brand goes swimming in it!
4. Careful Contrast
Whether you’re combining fonts or mixing colors, contrast is a power gadget in the design toolbox.
The creatives of the year have capitalized on this, mixing and matching the most unexpected
pairs to a striking effect.
There are many ways to go about contrasting colors, but miscalculating the color combo will likely take your audience down a dizzying, off-putting road. Unless you want to alienate customers, try to stick with colors on opposite ends of the color wheel or the shadow spectrum. If done right, contrast will give your designs a dynamic, spirited feel.
5. Earth Tones
Log cabins in the summertime, trees rustling in a forest – what do you feel when you imagine these settings? Maybe you remember relaxing on a vacation, or you’re picturing the pleasant stillness of a moment alone in the outdoors.
Regardless of the specifics, the emotions washing over you are the ones you’ll evoke in your audience when you incorporate earthy tones into your brand design. Nature reminds us of nostalgia and safety, which is why these woodsy, rustic shades are making their mark this year.
Try using muted greens, blues and browns, particularly if your brand is eco-friendly or emphasizes sustainability. Subtlety has a strong effect here, so don’t be afraid to use understated tones for an overall tranquil look.
6. More is More
In design, the general rule of thumb is to use a maximum of three-color combinations, as any more than that can often overwhelm a space and distract the eye. But like we said above, 2019 is all about breaking rules!
Today, people are throwing colors together like never before, and it’s making for fun, welcoming brand design. Of course, this free-for-all approach has the potential to backfire if you choose colors that clash, so make sure to brush up on color theory before diving headfirst into the color wheel. Try using analogous colors with similar brightness, or stick with one hue with varying saturation levels.
Gradients are often ignored, because people used to associate the look with the dated traditions of Microsoft WordArt (remember those days?). However, gradients have made a huge comeback in the last several years, particularly in digital design. (Skeptical? Check out Spotify’s microsites for proof.)
Consider blending several hues together to bring visual depth to your projects; you can use gradients in the background of any design or on 3D elements that you want your audience to focus on. That said, be aware that the blend of colors should look natural – not forced. To avoid creating a clunky design, choose hues that are close together on the color wheel and see how smoothly it guides the eye.
Over to You
There’s no one right way to use color this year, regardless if you’re completely rebranding or adding spice to a campaign. That said, there are definitely a few wrong ways! Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment with what works. Whether you opt for a multicolored approach or get the most out of a single, loud hue, make 2019 work to your design benefit.