Colour Trends 2020

Pantone Colour of the Year 2020, Classic Blue

Designers need to have a touch of magic. Not only do they have the power to be the bridge between the worlds of function and aesthetic but they also need the ability to predict the future. Clients want to see a design that not only looks good at the time of approval but will make a splash on launch and then be stylish for years to come.

Whether their crystal ball has grown a little cloudy or whether they want to check their own research against the rumblings of the creative industry, trend predictors can be a useful tool for designers in need of a bit of extra information.

The correct colour palette can transform a design. From harmonising with the form to subverting the design and breathing new life into it, colour can add essential context to your design. When it comes to hospitality interiors, designers know that colour has additional power. A colour palette will communicate essential information to your guests and instantly set their expectations, mood and shape how they interact with the space.

So, what have the biggest colour institutions got to say about the trending colours of 2020 and how can that shape your cruise interiors designs?

Pantone’s prediction

As one of the biggest names in colour, Pantone’s prediction has dominated the news cycle. For such a unconfrontational colour, Pantone’s colour of the year 2020 ‘Classic Blue’ has caused quite a reaction. Pantone describes Classic Blue as, ‘Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.’ Some creatives have rejected it as being ‘too safe’ but it does track with other forecaster’s trend predictions.

Anyone familiar with methods of trend prediction will recognise the key words, such as ‘calm’ and ‘dependable and stable’, in Pantone’s blurb. Trends grow out of socio-political environments as much as the creative industries they exist within. As the world turns into a new decade, technological developments leap ahead and global worries such as the environmental crisis loom large in societies’ minds it isn’t surprising that we seek comfort, familiarity, nostalgia and calm in all areas of our lives.

Classic Blue will be recognisable to anyone who has kept half an eye on interiors trends in recent years. Often seen adding a touch of luxe gravitas to rooms, navy tones have been used as an effective background to vivid punctuating colour or a relief to snowy whites.

Other colour predictions

Benjamin Moore’s shade, ‘Crystalline’

Pantone aren’t the only company to predict that we’ll be having a blue 2020. PPG paint brand named their colour of the year as ‘Chinese Porcelain’. The shade is an inkier, slightly more complex take on the navy hue. The paint brand Sherwin-Williams have also pointed to blue with their unambiguously named shade, ‘Naval’.

A display at Top Drawer 2020 showing the trend prediction ‘Serene Warmth’

Meanwhile other brands are exploring society’s desire for calming, wellbeing-related colours from a different place on the colour wheel. Dulux have selected a stony matte green, ‘Tranquil Dawn’ to represent their colour of the year. Cultural strategy company Flamingo used a similar shade in a recent display at exhibition Top Drawer as a key colour in their design trend prediction, ‘Serene Warmth’. Of the palette they had this to say, ‘… relaxing natural theme with touches of glamour. Dappled sun warmth and cool shade colours are juxtaposed in the raw fabrics… smooth pale marbles and concrete.’

Paint and stain company Benjamin Moore shaped a ten-colour-strong palette around their coolly pink Colour of the Year ‘First Light’. Their shades harmonise with the colours identified by Flamingo: the ‘sun warmth’ of ‘Golden Straw’ is balanced by the cool green of ‘Crystalline’. This palette also includes ‘Blue Danube’, a slightly greener take on other brands’ navy predictions.

Although at first glance colours such as ‘Chinese Porcelain’ and ‘Crystalline’ might seem very far from each other, this year’s trends all hold serenity, calm and stability at their core. They signal a return to nature and a desire for comfort.


Click here for part two: how cruise interiors designers, outfitters and suppliers have used and can use the colours of 2020.

You can learn more about future design trends and the cruise industry at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo America, 8-9 June 2021, at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

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