Find inspiration in the colors of nature bathing

Image credit: Adobe Stock/Odua images.

Adobe Stock partners with the Pantone Color Institute to track the shifting effects of color on consumers in the context of social and cultural shifts. This year’s Pantone Color of the Year, Classic Blue, embodies the collective thirst for a calm refuge and a foundation of dependability and stability amid turbulent times. Here, guest authors Jane Boddy, Creative Team Europe, and Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, offer their take on our renewed appreciation for the natural beauty and regenerative qualities of the great outdoors and the specific hues and palettes that contribute to the overall sense of well-being that spending time in nature provides.

Even as we advance technologically, it is nature’s greens and plant-based hues that continue to enthrall us. The worldwide restrictions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic have amplified the power of immersion in the natural world. In 2020 we have had to pause to reflect and are experiencing a collective reawakening of the mental and physical need to reconnect with nature to feel good.

Image credit: Adobe Stock/Isaiah &Taylor Photography/Stocksy United.

Through this pandemic our relationship with the natural world is changing as this crisis has stripped away the layers between humans and the places we used to be too busy to enjoy. Activities like planting and gardening give us an opportunity to get away from our screens and allow us to decompress. The physical nature of planting seeds and being able to see what we have grown (and in some cases, even taste the fruits of our labor) is emotionally gratifying, helping us appreciate the slowness of life, and changing the way we look at the natural world.

There is peace in recognizing that we are nature, that our bodies are part of a vast system that works harmoniously without intervention. Becoming attuned to the natural rhythms of nature — the changing of the seasons; the first call of the cuckoo; and understanding the connection between the lunar cycle and the tides — helps to connect us to the wider universe. Even in urban environments there is a wealth of nature to discover; nature finds a way despite our attempts to control it.

With this increased desire to immerse ourselves in nature, the color stories we continue to gravitate to reflect nature’s power and richness. Botanical in feeling, the tones of woodland and its accompanying forest undergrowth are taking center stage in many areas around the world. Familiar and honest, these colors draw us to their sense of authenticity.

Image credit: Adobe Stock/Katerina Kouzmitcheva/Stocksy United.

In Norway, the concept of friluftsliv, or open-air living, is based on nature as a source of wellbeing, not just in the summer but actively in the winter as well. In the colder months, Norwegians embrace the darkness and the drop in temperature to celebrate the season for what it is. Extended hikes and camping trips help to forge a oneness with nature and shift the mindset around inclement weather to something more positive – pending the provision of appropriate clothing of course. Deep, inky cold blues give a sense of infinite depth while multifarious browns are plucked from the forest floor.

Image credits: Top: Adobe Stock/Fancy Bethany. Bottom: Adobe Stock/Tania Cervian/Westend61.

While swimming in the sea or local lakes was once part and parcel of many of our childhoods, some of that culture has been lost. Now experts take small groups on tours of remote mountain lakes to experience the freedom and exhilaration of open water swimming in all weather conditions, treating outdoor swimming as a therapy that provides the feeling of being alive rather than simply being a form of exercise. Chlorophyll-infused greens combine with ancient lichen yellows and glossy algae to showcase the colors of the natural world.

Fashion and design reflect our hunger for natural elements

Fashion and design hold up a mirror to the times, and can help to critically contextualize the situation we find ourselves in. The latest fashion week shows have had to adapt to the virtual world, and yet many have chosen to ground their showcases in nature. As part of London Fashion Week, Paria Farzaneh showed her collection in a field in rural Buckinghamshire while Erdem held an audience-less runway in Epping Forest, both a major departure from traditional central-London venues.

Image credit: Adobe Stock/Cat_Arch_Angel.

While some designers incorporated this concept pre-COVID, it now seems very connected to the urgent need for nature. Burberry showcased a forest location using the latest technologies offered by streaming platform Twitch, but the fashion brand’s chief creative officer Ricardo Tisci affirmed, “As humans, we have always had a deep affinity to nature. We have had to respect and rely upon its power for our very existence, whilst marveling and reveling in its extraordinary beauty.”

This desire for nature infiltrates our senses and inspires us to clothe and surround ourselves in our homes in natural colors. Earthiness and richness are key for design across all areas of lifestyle.

The concept of regeneration offers hope in a time when climate change continues to cause disruption around the world. Taking inspiration from these grounding colors, we can be part of nature, and support its renewal, which in turn may support our mental and physical wellbeing. We predict we’ll see much more of this trend throughout social and visual culture in the coming year.

Stay tuned for Adobe Stock’s 2021 Creative Trends, launching in January 2021.