Warm, earthy nuances and natural materials give us assurance

21 December 2020

Brown shades are important in our lives today. They give us tranquillity and assurance. Discover our 2021 trend colour direction named Honesty.

When we worked with the colour trends for 2021, we did not have any knowledge about Covid-19 and its consequences. The forecast is, however, more relevant than ever. We predicted that 2020 would hold major happenings and turning points which would dramatically affect us. This mainly due to climate change. However, the pandemic took its place and accelerated this.

-The forecasting team at NCS Colour

As so much is going in on in our world today, we seek assurance and tranquillity in colours. These are reflected in our trend direction named “Honesty”. Warm, earthy tones give a soothing and comforting feeling.

Dramatic events are challenging us

We are facing dramatic challenges in terms of climate, economics, politics and not to mention the ongoing pandemic. Information comes from thousands of sources, telling us different versions of the same facts. Therefore, we seek honesty, transparency and truthfulness in the way we behave toward ourselves and others. The feeling of honesty is a warm and soothing feeling without any distrust. Colours in the trend mood HONESTY reflect this, being earthy tones with a connection to nature. They make us feel comfortable and assure us. Materials and finishes are also reflecting this, being more genuine, with surfaces that appear as what they are, without any aesthetic alterations. Natural materials are mostly warm toned between Y-R (yellow/red). All the colours are similar in hue, which make them comforting and harmonising.

Honesty in design

The colours in this trend direction are all yellow and red mid-tones, one lighter than the other. None of them will be perceived as very light or very dark. As they are similar in hue, they have a comforting and harmonising effect on the room. The dark brown and reddish NCS S 7010-Y70R makes a beautiful contrast in combination with the lighter shades.


Honesty is one of four colour trends presented in NCS Colour Trends 2021+, an exclusive trend book. The forecast contains unique insights into international drivers for colour, material, and finishes.

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