Colour Trends 2021

A classic cruise poster in a modern colourway
By National Library NZ on The Commons
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45249234

Here at Cruise Ship Interiors Expo HQ we’ve been taking a look at the colour trends of 2020 and what they mean for the cruise interiors community. If you’ve missed our breakdown of the predicted colours of the year you can find that here, and if you’re interested in how you can apply those trends to your own work, click here.

As designers, outfitters, and suppliers, you’ll be aware that it’s one thing to know what’s big today but it’s quite another to have a handle on the trends of tomorrow. This article will explore how colour forecasters use their knowledge of ‘now’ to learn about ‘next’ and give you a sneak peek at the next biggest thing in colour.

The art of colour prediction

The big colours for 2020, such as classic blue or pastel green, are not going to drop from relevance as dawn rises on January 1st, 2021. While the creative industry will have already engaged in much discussion about what’s next, much of the general public will still be loving, and reacting to, these colour palettes.

Colour prediction allows for different scales of adoption from different demographics. Designers and creatives should look at their core markets before deciding to move on from ‘yesterday’s’ colours. Are your cruise line clients innovators or early adopters, wanting their surrounds to be updated regularly? Or are they the late majority or laggards who seek comfort in the familiar and value preservation and tradition? This will help inform your relationship to colour trends.

Much of colour prediction is understanding a colour’s relationship to society’s collective mentality. The descriptors surrounding colours such as ‘Classic Blue’ or ‘Tranquil Dawn’ are comfort, calm and reassurance – and it’s possible to trace these colour choices as a reaction to globally turbulent times. Creatives looking to see how their target demographic’s relationship to 2020 colours will change would do well to follow global ‘moods’ – will 2020 be more hopeful or will there be more weighing on our minds?

Colour and flow

At a preview unveiled at Top Drawer 2020, trend forecasters Calzada Fox and Clairant Colour both gave audiences glimpses of some of the colours they have earmarked to be big in 2021. Both companies commented on the ‘flow’ of colour trends and noted that even if, for example, deep blue wasn’t popular in the same way in 2021, it would still be trend-relevant. Calzada Fox revealed that they earmarked a spectrum of blue as a 2021 trend, though it may be lighter or different in hue.

Judith van Vliet of Clairant Colour noted that product designers should also look to ‘additives’. This, she explained, referred to the extra dimensions that creatives could add to colour. So a colour might remain popular but be updated for the new year in the textures that it was presented in. CSI HQ have noted that the various iterations of deep blue slated for 2020 popularity are currently presented in smooth textures. As tactility grows in popularity, will the blues of 2021 be textured, or roughened, subverted from classic luxe to something edgier?

Tomorrow’s Trends

By XoMEoX – Orange, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63706764

Caldaza Fox and Clairant Colour both noted that there are two camps of colour trend. One is a flow from popular colours of last year, such as a spectrum of blue following ‘Classic Blue’. The second is a reaction to previous colours; a desire for something different entirely.

Both Caldaza Fox and Clairant Colour’s predictions for 2021 included a vibrant orange hue. It’s possible to see this as a reaction to the blue hues and subtle pastels of 2020, a step into a brighter, more vivid future.

Caldaza Fox also suggested that 2019’s worry about the environment, and our subsequent desire for a comfort colour, might transform into action. One of their predictions studied how cities could harness colour technology to help cool and reflect warmth within a city. They noted that although this would likely be through monochromatic colours, we would seek to add splashes of green and blue spaces in order to reconnect with nature and add vibrancy.


Have you enjoyed this series of articles? Come to CSI America, 8 – 9 June 2021, at the Miami Beach Convention Center and learn more about global trend predictions in cruise interiors.

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