101 Brilliant Color Combinations for 2020
Plus templates to get you started.
Pastels & Muted Tones
Pastels and muted tones have a low hue saturation, meaning they are mixed with white to create softer versions of their bright counterparts. Because of this mix, we experience them as understated and soothing. Pastels can be used easily for large blocks of color in a design since they are inoffensive and don’t compete with each other for attention. Try using pastels in your next card or invite creation.
Clean & Modern Palettes
A muted color with a pop of color makes for a modern, clean aesthetic. Think simple and minimalist graphic design with a little something eye-catching. By keeping a palette neutral with one pop of color, your design will feel light and harmonious while staying bold and impactful. These colors work well when you want your message to take center stage.
Metallic Color Combos
Gold and silver, being precious metals, have historically been associated with wealth and luxury. Metallic palettes can be utilized in different ways. Use variations of metallic tones to work with a full metallic gradient palette in your design. Or, starting with black or white, add a simple pop of metallic for more minimalist luxury. This combo would be excellent for luxury or lifestyle brands looking to get noticed on visually rich social channels, like Instagram.
Bright Neon Color Combos
With everything ’90s back in full swing, so too are neons. Neons can be incredibly effective in a design. They are instantly eye-catching. Add energy and brighten up a subdued palette with a small pop of neon or scream energy and playfulness with a full neon rainbow. Use in everything from logo design to digital, print or photography. These colors are well suited for posters or ads.
Duotone Gradients + Monochromatic Palettes
Duotone, traditionally a photo effect, is where two contrasting colors are superimposed on a black and white photo, replacing the black and white gradient with colors. For example, a bright yellow and dark pink palette replaces the highlights (yellow), midtones (orangey pink) and shadows (dark pink) of the photo and creates a 2-color version of the photo. Duotone gradients create fun, smooth, palettes. Monochromatic palettes are palettes that draw on variations of the same color. They create smooth and harmonious palettes. What fun projects can you come up with that utilize these two-color theories?
Natural and Earthy Tones
Nature has inspired art since the beginning of time. Our natural environment is rich with diverse color palettes—think of the harmonious neutral palette of a dessert or the bright and rich palette of a cotton candy sunset. There are gorgeous colors all around us. Natural and earthy palettes help us feel grounded. Try grounding your next design with one of these palettes brought to you by the universe (and the team at Adobe Spark). This combo would work well for brands aiming to evoke calm and nature vibes, for example, a health and wellness blog, or social posts for an organic goods brand.
Retro palettes are reminiscent of vintage cars, fabric prints, and home decor. Transform the feel of your design and rewind the clock by using these nostalgic tones. Utilize the colors for photo filters, to create vintage patterns, update your branding, or just have fun and play. Retro palettes are well suited for cards, posters, or trendy social posts.
Bold, Modern, Color Combos
A common trend in graphic and web design is to create contrast and drama by using a dark, neutral color, such as black or grey, for a background color and combining it with one or more bold, accent colors. These palettes are dynamic, vibrant, and punchy. They set the tone for your design or brand and that tone is fearless. Bright colors can be used in large floods or minimally as accents.
’90s Color Combos
The ’90s are known for two distinct styles. Let’s talk about this in pop culture terms:
- Bright jewel toned palettes, think TV shows like Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Beverly Hills 90210, or Clueless.
These colors scream fun, approachable, and playful. Try using them for your next IG or Snapchat story.
2. Grungy, moody, more neutral palettes: think Daria, Office Space, and all of Friends’ Chandler Bing’s wardrobe. These muted palettes are a great way to subtly throwback to the ’90s while keeping your design low-key. How about layering some distress patterned icons on your design to add to the grunge aesthetic?
Moody, Gothic Color Schemes
Think hunter green, mauve, dark blues, and dusty pinks. Deep jewel tones mixed with charcoal blacks. The kind of color schemes that would be at home in a Bronte novel or the Pacific Northwest in winter. Give your design gravitas and a moody vibe with these rich Heathcliff-inspired palettes. This color combo would work well for event invites or social posts.