It’s not only the start of a new year but a new decade — which means the chance to throw out the proverbial old, and embrace all new color trends.
For anyone that works with design, color is king. But which color palettes look set to serve you best in the new year?
We looked to Envato search data, explored what the industry’s talking about, and asked our experts for their 2020 color predictions—and found five color trends that could be this year’s favorites.
Color 1: Gold Standard
A golden old favorite, this color has had 60.89% year-on-year growth, and was the most popular color searched on Envato in 2019.
Top related search terms included gold logo, gold foil, gold text, gold glitter, and gold frame, indicating that when it comes to gold, it’s all about the embellishments.
Gold is also synonymous with opulence and glamor, and because of this it shares the attributes of the roaring 1920s — a trend that’s also been noted in various reports for 2020.
Testament to its enduring popularity, we also featured gold in our color trends guide for 2019. However, the fact that it continues to have an impact has become apparent:
“One of the most popular colors of 2019 that has carried its momentum into the new year is gold. Frequently associated with money, wealth or prosperity, it’s often used in themes of glamor and luxury. As a shade of yellow, gold can also help communicate happiness and energy,” says Mark Brodhuber, Envato’s content specialist for video.
Color 2: Classic Blue
A staple in any designer’s color stable, blue came in as the fifth most searched color for Envato last year.
“Continuing where we left off in 2019, the demand for the various shades of blue should remain strong throughout the year,” predicts Gaby Jalbert, Envato’s content specialist for photos.
It’s so staple, in fact, that ‘Classic Blue’ has been named Pantone’s Color of the Year 2020.
“I love this year’s Pantone color of the year,” says Kate McInnes, Envato’s content specialist for graphics. “It’s calming in a dreamy way; not childish like pastel colors can be. Classic Blue brings celestial designs to my mind. Think wedding invitations that have beautiful deep blue watercolor backgrounds, constellation details and exquisite silver script.”
This air of tranquility lends itself to fluidity.
But while blue may represent steadiness, it’s not simply a case of perennial popularity—cool hues also accounted for the three fastest growing color search terms on Envato: Indigo (339% YoY growth), Sky Blue (103% YoY growth), and Dark Blue (85% YoY growth).
“The second half of 2019 saw a shift in preference towards more saturated and vibrant shades, and that’s no different here,” explains Mark. “Shades of indigo, dark blue, or Pantone’s Classic Blue tend to have a calming effect, while also retaining boldness and strength.”
“[They also mix] very well with striking or vibrant neon accents for contrast,” he adds.
Color 3: Burnt Orange
This 1970s nostalgic favorite has enjoyed resurgent popularity in decor and fashion alike in recent years. For Envato, orange featured in the top 10 most popular colors searched, and searches for orange had a YoY growth of 48.18%. According to Glamour magazine, speaking on 2019/20 fashion trends, “orange really is the new black”.
This autumnal shade rings rich and bold, and echoes the ‘70s trend that’s been seen in recent places like Glossier’s London popup shop, as well as in our recent illustration trends wrap-up.
“Bold color choices, flower motifs, paisley patterns and curvy serif fonts. It won’t be as kitschy as the original designs were, instead it will evoke a nostalgic, relaxed and cheerful aesthetic,” said Kate, speaking to the ‘70s trend.
Rounding out a cocktail of colors on the citrus/orange spectrum, fastest growing terms also included apricot (77.91% YoY growth), lemon (70.35% YoY growth), and amber (68.38% YoY growth).
Color 4: Going Green
Green was the third most popular color search of 2020, with 43.70% YoY growth. With top search terms including green nature, green house, green leaves, green earth, green leaf, and green planet, the associations we make with the color are clear. Its popularity goes hand in hand with many companies having more of an eye to going greener, and many people thinking of green change in their own lives.
“Green is a classic color that designers can rely on for almost anything,” says Kate McInnes. “From deep moody emerald to bright exciting neons, there’s a shade of green for everyone.”
However, it’s neon green that’s truly captured our attention for 2020. We even hailed it as a trend in 2019. “Daring and slightly unusual, this bold color choice has already been favored by fashion giants like Gucci and Versace,” says writer Melody Nieves.
Color 5: Always Apricot
We touched on it earlier, but the fourth fastest growing color trend (coming in after the three blues mentioned above) is apricot, growing 77.91% YoY. Coming in just above other lolly-like colors lavender and lemon, this summer shade looks set to be a popular choice in 2020.
It can work especially well, our experts note, to offset staple colors or darker shades already present in design work.
“If you’re looking for a complementary color for Classic Blue, apricot might be what you’re searching for,” says Kate McInnes. “It’s a highly versatile color that can be used to great effect across different design items.”
Other Colors of 2020
A few others made the top ten searches for 2019 that are worth noting: white and black both came in high (second and fourth), suggesting monochrome is having a moment, and red comes through in the middle at sixth. Along similar lines of rouge, hues like salmon, brown, copper, ruby and blush all made the top 30.
On the back of these reds and browns, and with our apricot trend in mind, bronze and amber also made the top 10 fastest growing colors, with 69.14% and 68.38% YoY growth respectively.
“We’re seeing sustained demand for rich, saturated colors in general,” says Gaby Jalbert.
So keep an eye on these shades for 2020, and don’t be afraid to go rustic, earthy, and bold!