Color Of The Year 2020 – The Universe of Brown

We started in 2018, observing and forecasting BROWN shades to be a major come back. This time, we consider it is not one particular color but a whole brownish spectrum that belongs to the Color Of The Year 2020.


The evolution of the terracotta color asks for a deep and darker BROWN evolving from a pink and red-based scheme, towards BROWNS that holds more black pigments.

We have seen Earth-related shades for the past four years; it’s about time to move to a different color spectrum within the terra universe.


  • If we talk only hue, one reason why Brown rises is for sure the desire to move away from a pinkish and reddish terracotta palette seen for a long time. Brown is only a natural progression.

  • Also, ancient celebrations and rituals come strong (as featured in our CEREMONY 2020/21 Trend Report), and they often have brownish and black aesthetics. Whenever we look back to ancient traditions, colors get darker.

  • It’s a moment of Mindful Design; the used palette for any kind of object lies within a beige-brown range, which helps to connect on a deeper level with nature.

  • Brown is symbolic of rich soil and clay, and we all know how much ceramics are thriving. Not only do we appreciate pottery more and are interested in buying, but there is more interest in taking classes on the wheel, too.



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Brown is not a hue but a shade. You can’t find it in the color wheel, but you need to make it.

Brown comes a long way. It was one of the first pigments made of clay pigments containing iron and manganese oxides used by humankind on walls of prehistoric caves.

Brown was left for the poor when it came to dye cloth, and the monks of the Franciscan order wore it as a sign of poverty and humility. That symbol of poverty remains today in our cultural DNA.

Once an increased interest among the wealthy was driven towards soldier uniforms and leather coats, Brown gained prestige. By the mid-1700s, Brown was an essential shade of the well-dressed European gentleman.

According to public surveys in Europe and the United States, Brown is the least popular color/shade in color psychology. The reason is Brown is associated with rotten/decomposed materials and poverty rather than thinking of soil and wood (which is a curious fact).

Brown is the least appreciated shade of all; still, it’s everywhere:

A nice summer tan stands for beauty. Brown reminds us to be in contact with nature; it feels cozy. A good patina talks about time, heritage, and values. We consume food and beverages that are brownish on a daily base: (toasted) bread, coffee, tea, cacao. Brown is very present in our homes. Our furniture is made from wood; plants are potted in soil, wool and leather are often used for textiles.

Images from TL to BR: Margarita Diaz del Castillo | Melanie Riccardi | Hebrante | The Cohesion Studio | Ropa de Género | Chechen Wood Design | Kråkvik Dorazio for Jotun, Ph: Line Klein | Kråkvik Dorazio for Jotun, Ph: Line Klein 


Color Of The Year 2020 Eclectic Trends


Color Of The Year 2020 The Cohesion StudioEclectic Trends

 The Cohesion Studio 

Color Of The Year 2020 Eclectic Trends

Kråkvik Dorazio for Jotun, Ph: Line Klein 

Color Of The Year 2020 Eclectic Trends

Melanie Riccardi  

Color Of The Year 2020 Ropa de Género Eclectic Trends

Ropa de Género

Color Of The Year 2020 Krakvik DorazoEclectic Trends

Kråkvik Dorazio for Jotun, Ph: Line Klein 

Color Of The Year 2020 The Universe of Brown Eclectic Trends


Color Of The Year 2020 Universe Of Brown Eclectic Trends

Katalina Ruliskaya

Color Of The Year 2020 | Eclectic Trends

Givenchy Spring 2020


The idea is to move away from reddish colors, but we left one exception within our 6-colors palette. Terra still has a touch of red glow but getting much darker already.
The color denominations in the mood board reflect the fact that words for Brown around the world often come from foods or beverages.
Hazel, Terra, Chocolate, Toffee, Cinnamon, and Tobacco are our Colors Of The Year 2020.


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IT'S TRENDING / Pantone Color of the Year 2023

In this eBook you will learn who decides which color makes it into the new Color of the Year, how the process works, its duration, and the biggest misconception Pantone still faces all these years.
We share color codes, the story of the AI-generated visuals this year, and why a beetle is the superstar of this year’s inspiration.

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