Colour Me Contemporary: Understanding Next Year’s Hot Hues

Abbas Youssefi
Abbas Youssefi
13th July 2020

The very concept of colour forecasting is enough to bring out the inner sceptic in many home owners. But, believe us, a truly formidable amount of research, analysis, experience, and knowledge is invested each and every year in this vital area. Vital? Indeed, because colour plays such a crucial role in the success of so many brands and such a diverse range of products.

Colour and pattern enhance and enrich our furniture, homes and lives - Nya Nordiska

Many of these brands turn to acknowledged experts, like Colour Hive, to provide them with an inside track. Colour Hive is a London-based creative agency with 20 years' experience in trend, colour, and material forecasting. They also create and publish MIX Magazine; a quarterly forecasting publication for design and colour professionals.

Colour Hive forecast, analyse, and track trends in colours, materials, and finishes for the design industry. With a proven track record, Colour Hive communicate these forecasts through intelligent analysis and beautiful design.

Side tables by HAY

“We’re immersed in the influences that drive trends and form the core of consumer demands and expectations,” states Colour Hive. “Through expert industry panels and geographic analysis of the nuances in global regions, we are confident in the business value of our directions.”

Colour Hive forecast colour trends two years ahead of season, and then track their global and regional usage, trajectory, and longevity to offer colour consultancy for everything from surface coatings to packaging and branding. How surfaces and materials work in partnership with colour to create new design outcomes is integral to this forecasting. So, what are Colour Hive predicting for 2021?


Lucy Kurrein for Molinari

At Porcelain Superstore, we think our customers will be fascinated (and hopefully inspired) to learn that the SS 2021 Design Direction is Factory: categorised as “a steadfast and utilitarian colour palette for uncertain times.”


Here, Colour Hive has picked up on a recurring design theme from the past few decades: the direct influence of political and economic uncertainty on our colour choices. Subliminally, it seems, in times of trouble, we fall back on safe and reassuring colours that wrap us in a sense of security.

Colour Hive are also predicting that the increasingly widespread appreciation for crafted and artisan goods will extend to the less romantic but equally rigorous disciplines of factory production.

Factory was first published in issue 56 of MIX Magazine (shown above) and explored in detail in Colour Hive’s SS 2021 Colour, Material and Finish forecast. The Factory colour palette is designed to function both in terms of utility and harmony. Familiar workwear hues are balanced with colours derived from industrial environments; the overall effect being reassuringly timeless.

Above - the Factory colour palette

A primary colour mood is given some wear and tear with a touch of shading throughout. The hint of red running through both the Beeswax and Old Navy unifies the group around the Cordovan hue, below left. The analogous and tonal shift between the yellow-red of Pink Plaster, through Brick, and into Leather Brown makes for an easy-on-the-eye combination, below right.

Every palette needs clever definition; below, the green element of Limewash is complemented in a graphic pairing with the red-based Leather Brown.

The palette provide an effective showcase for two pairs of complementary colours - Old Navy and Brick, and Olive Drab and Cordovan, below left - while the yellow-red of Pink Plaster connects the yellow aspect of Limewash with the red of Cordovan, below right.

Reassuring and timeless may not sound directional, but, in light of current events, this is actually an important design direction. Within the Factory palette there are no awkward combinations, and no discordant challenges: just harmony and security. As we navigate an uncertain future, this may be just the colour mood many of us are looking for as we fresh our homes.