REVIEW: Shutterstock 2021 colour trends

Brand and Branding

Get ready for a year of rich, simple and natural colours that reflect the great outdoors.

Shutterstock has released its annual Colour Trends report, showcasing which hues will dominate next year in the world of creative and brand. Their team of forecasters have compiled an eye watering amount of pixel data to determine the dominant HEX codes from this year’s image downloads. 

What’s driven colour trends in 2020? 

The Covid-19 pandemic has massively affected the colours creatives have been using to communicate their ideas. Having watched social media come alive with people’s outdoor pursuits during lockdown, it’s no surprise to discover the rich colours found in nature are set to dominate in 2021. Even my own social media feed has blossomed on trend without conscious thoughts. It’s a fascinating realisation that I, and my customers, are so closely guided by experience.

For Shutterstock 2021 colour trends, it seems there is a movement afoot for turning to optimistic colours that inspire. Accordingly, the story of 2021 is that optimism should dominate the year.

Creatives colours for 2021


“For years, brands and agencies have used bold colours to stand out in a crowded content landscape; however, 2020 has forced creatives to be more purposeful in their strategies. We see them turning to optimistic colours that inspire a sense of hope, a sense that positive change is coming,” commented Flo Lau, Creative Director at Shutterstock. 

“With nearly 2 million global customers leveraging Shutterstock’s library to create innovative, fresh and timely content for their campaigns and projects, their recent download choices are reflecting a shift in creative thought. They’re leaving behind the bright, saturated hues that defined 2020 and moving towards 2021 with a rich, natural palette that speaks to new opportunities, and more simply, a desire to get outside and get away.”


The top three Global 2021 colours 

Welcome to colours that will flood our senses in 2021! I hope you like them because you’re going to see them all used next year to tell stories and capture your imagination.

Set Sail Champagne (#FAEBD7)

A soft, glowing tint of white evoking an escapist desire to embark on a new journey.

Brand Colours for 2021
Fortuna Gold (#DAA520)

A rich shade of gold representing the chance happenings and happy coincidences found in life’s moments.

Brand Colours for 2021
Tidewater Green (#2F4F4F)

 Deep teal with touches of yellow and blue – just like the constant ebb and flow of ocean tides. This colour is a reminder that change is a given.

Brand Colours for 2021

Dive into Shutterstock’s 2021 Colour Trends report to explore the top trending colours around the world.

The top 2021 colour trends for Europe 

Anyone that’s attended one of my brand workshops will know I like to dig deeper. What is trending globally doesn’t necessarily translate locally! Here’s what we can expect across the EU pond. After a long lockdown, I suspect Europe’s creatives were taking a lot of long walks through vineyards…

EU Colours for 2021

The top 2021 colours for the United Kingdom. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland 

Interestingly as Brexit dominates the news, we could see the psychology of colour and Shutterstock trends in a new light. As we debate trade deals with India and the scope of a Norway style agreement, it feels a tad more profound that the colours of our own shores align with these … take from this what you will!

Brexit Colours for 2021


If nothing else, I’m just thrilled to see Blabbermouth Marketing’s new brand colours are hitting the palette nail on the head… all be it a tad brighter than anticipated.

Blabbermouth Marketing logo lips

Why does colour matter to a brand? 

Colours communicate without a single word. It’s a powerful communication tool that can be used to signal action, influence mood, and even influence physiological reactions. Certain colours have been proven to increase blood pressure, metabolism and even eyestrain, which is why we always consider the psychology of colours when taking a brand or product to market.

At some point, every business is going to need to refresh its brand. Maybe your existing branding is out of date or you want to re-brand to reach out to a different target audience? Or is it that you are simply not getting the results you want with your current marketing? 

Our tried and tested Brand Workshop process has helped clients like SkyWavenet and ACS create brands that form a shared and strongly differentiated vision with an actionable framework.

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