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Retro 2021/2022 Color Trends For Designers + Examples

If you haven't banked in on the retro revival trend just yet, you're missing out big time.

2021 is set to become a smorgasbord of mid century retro - anything from 40s to the noughties goes. I always hoard little retro color palettes, saving them reference photos or happy mistakes whilst designing. I've compiled for you below some of my absolute favorites (and some of my products to give you an example), so you can apply them to your projects and get that retro vibe going.


P.s. if you're looking for more general 2021 color trends, see my other post on this here!


Chill Pill

Your typical retro colorway will include some oranges, off browns and a lilac. This is a quintessential colourway for all things mid century, usually derived from furnishing and wallpaper colors from the late 60s. I like to dim them down just a little bit as you can see in the colourway, to give it a slight tinge of calm and chill. Use this for cool wrapping paper or late summer graphics!

70 Kitchen

You know those cringe looking kitchens from the 60s and 70s that look like a doll house? Those, my friend, are the best reference for retro color palettes. This one is from a picture I've since lost, but I've kept and used the colourway so many times. These would look great on velvet fabric or even some cool greeting cards.

Mod Con

The all time favorite for anyone who loves retro is 60s Mod. Usually a happy go lucky style, it consists of clean, minimal, but still bright colors. Perfect for stationery, wrapping paper and packaging prints.

English Cottage

This is definitely a result of two massive trends right now - that is #cottagecore and everyone watching Bridgerton. A darker take on the usual cottagecore, this is a more sophisticated take on old English estate inspiration. Think sophisticated florals on coloured cotton paper, a light ribbon and curly, prim fonts.

Sky High

One of my absolute favorites is this airy, chill, muddy pastel colourway. Inspired by 70s marble tiles, it will be a welcome breath of fresh air in all the typical retro oranges and greens. If you design fabric, this is perfect for airy silks - or for packaging designers, think see through paper and milky plastic.

Bubblegum

You can't talk about retro without featuring the colourful 90s. This one is more reminiscent of the late 80s, what with its light hues and happy tones. Perfect if you want to try your hand at the famous Memphis style graphics.

Psychopop

And at the other end of the 90s is this punchy set - almost reaching the noughties, it's much more saturated and reminiscent of the first screens and websites we remember seeing (for those of us who were, errr, alive in the 90s). Bright parkas and shiny scrunchies, this is the colorway of the millenials.

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