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2021’s Trending Colors and How to Use Them in Your Designs

By Melanie Doncas | Inspiration

Each year, the top paint companies from around the globe choose their Colors of the Year. Influencing everything from graphic design and home decor, to fashion and beauty trends, these selected hues are a big deal. With 2021’s trending colors now announced, we’re sharing the shades you need to know about – particularly if you want your own design work or social media content to stay relevant and #ontrend. Check them out below!

2021 Trending Colors
  • Pantone Colors of the Year: Ultimate Grey (HEX #939597) and Illuminating (HEX #F5DF4D)
  • Dulux Color of the Year: Brave Ground (HEX #9A896F)
  • Benjamin Moore Color of the Year: Aegean Teal (HEX #708A8C)
  • Pittsburgh Paint Company’s 2021 Palette of the Year: Big Cypress (HEX #B98675)

It doesn’t matter if your look is more Aegean Teal than Big Cypress; we’re going to show you how you can easily add 2021’s trending colors to your design work, as well as share some 2021 trending color inspiration to get those creative juices flowing!

How to Add 2021's Trending Colors to Your Design Work

If you’re scratching your head for ways in which you can incorporate these on-trend colors into your own design work, don’t fret. We’ve rounded-up a bunch of ideas below so you can start flexing your graphic design muscles and create something awesome.

Social Media

Whether you’re posting on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or anywhere else you have a social media presence, you can quickly and easily incorporate one or more of these 2021 design trends. Perhaps you will allow one of these shades to dominate over the coming year, if it fits into your profile’s aesthetic. Alternatively, you can subtly introduce these hues into your social media channel’s overall look by using them in moderation. Think a small graphic, subtext, or photo overlay here or there, much like this example of an Instagram post.

Using 2021 trending colors in social media

Business Marketing

When designing your business marketing, you run into the dilemma of wanting it to represent your brand (including its existing brand colors), while also remaining on-trend so that it resonates with current consumers. With the 2021 color trends being hues of grey, yellow, brown, blue/green, and red/pink, you will likely find that at least one shade can be incorporated in your marketing materials – all while still appearing cohesive and on-brand.

Business marketing using trending colors

Take this example of a flyer, for instance, which allows the brand’s established colors to feature center-stage, while the trending hues subtly (yet beautifully) take their place in the background.

Online Advertising

Much like your business marketing, this same approach applies to your online advertising. You can try mixing one or more trending colors in with your existing brand color palette or throw any rules out of the window and embrace a 2021 color of the year instead. Because online advertising graphics are digital, you do have some tricks up your sleeves if you wish to use them. Why not create two versions of the same online advertisement (say, a medium rectangle ad for your email newsletter) and create one in your usual color palette and another using 2021’s trending colors. Then, use A/B split testing to determine which one yields more conversions. The results may surprise you!

Business marketing using trending colors


If you’re planning on throwing the event of the year, then it only makes sense that you utilize the colors of the year to spread the news! Make elements pop by using the color Illuminating, opt for earthy tones with Big Cypress and Brave Ground, or keep things calming with a combination of Ultimate Grey and Aegean Teal. There are no rules here – it ultimately depends on what type of event you’re hosting and the tone you’re trying to convey!

Event invitation templates 2021 tending colors


If you’re looking to incorporate these trending colors into your next card or set of cards, then why not have fun with it? We think any of these colors, or a combination of them, will work perfectly on any card, regardless of the occasion. Remember, you can utilize these colors as graphics, text, borders, backgrounds, photo overlays, and more. The sky's the limit!

Card templates for 2021 color trends

Now that you know how you can add 2021’s trending colors to your design work, it’s time to head to the Graphic Designer to try your hand at creating your own on-trend design!

2021 Trending Color Inspiration

Thinking of creating even more designs featuring 2021 color trends? Here’s some additional inspiration to put your creativity into overdrive!

Wedding Menu

For this wedding menu, we’ve used a combination of Ultimate Grey, Brave Ground, and Big Cypress to create a color palette that’s warm, yet earthy. Using the colors within the border helps to keep the piece balanced and prevents the trending colors from overpowering the menu’s content.

Wedding menu templates using 2021 trending colors

Business Card

This business card design aims to be fun, loud, and creative so as to maintain its subject’s branding. Using Illuminate for the background allows the piece to pop, while more understated colors such as Ultimate Grey and white create harmony.

Business card templates using 2021 trending colors

Instagram Story

In this Instagram Story template, we’ve used the trending colors Big Cypress and Ultimate Grey for a pop of color, while keeping it mostly neutral. Using Big Cypress on both sides of the template (for the text on the left and background on the right) creates a sense of balance, while Ultimate Grey is paired behind the main image to complement its grayscale filter.

Instagram story templates trending colors

Winter Holiday Card

Winter holiday cards templates inspiration 2021 trending colors

Aegean Teal has a winter vibe, so it makes the perfect background color for a Winter Card, as we’ve done here. It is also perfectly complemented by Ultimate Grey, another wintery tone, for some of the text and graphics.

Graphic Design, Simplified.

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