Heat-stricken days call for the soothing tones of Santorini blues and whites, while refreshing pastel hues are the color equivalent of a sorbet ice cream cone. Post-COVID, our collective pent up energy is spilling over into bright magenta, tangerine, and Chartreuse, colors brimming with electric vibrancy, excess, and life—the antidote to COVID’s disposable mask blue.
So, go bold and add some summer sizzle to your next creative project with these six palettes.
1. Sorbet Summer
Sorbet summer is the visual respite from the unrelenting heat, a cool-to-touch spectrum, the color equivalent of a sorbet ice cream cone. This palette conjures up images of citrus fruits (pineapples, mangos, peaches, tangelos, limes), sweating Aperol spritzes glinting in the afternoon sun, and summer picnics. Cool lime green and mango are balanced by the warmer hues on the other end of this palette’s spectrum, but still retains its pastel tones.
Tangerine dream is the summer heat that radiates on a sweltering day. It’s the pulsating, electric fervor of a still-hot summer night The color of our collective pent-up energy waiting to be released.
Not quite red and not just orange, it hovers between the two on a spectrum that ranges from orange creamsicle to bright poppy red. This is the color to use when you want to inject some energy into your creative endeavors.
Within this spectrum is what Pantone calls Green Ash, a “mentholated green that cools and soothes,” and mint, “a color that refreshes and restores.” This palette plays up both ends of the spectrum—a swirling psychedelic pop (thanks to its acid-green tones) with an enduring sense of timelessness (its yellow tones)—the summer transition between bright daffodils and their green stems.
The contrast of bright, saturated blue with a dense, rich shade of white is synonymous with the idyllic island of Santorini in Greece. This is a monochrome palette that gives us cerulean sky to cyan turquoise water to cornflower blue—a Mediterranean-inspired palette to lend some cool, calm, soothing tones to any project. When you want to tamper the personality of summer imagery, this palette will do the trick.
This multi-hued palette ranges from eye-popping purples to raspberry pinks, lending a unique, bold look to whatever it graces. This is the palette of a flower garden in full bloom, with hues like Pantone’s amethyst orchid and flowering Bougainvillea draping from a trellis. This palette is rich, deep, and punchy. However you incorporate this into your project, it will instantly elevate its final form.
This neutral, warm palette conjures up images of sand dunes, terracotta tiles, and crumpled linens. With its muted brown and peachy tones, it brings an easy, breezy attitude and a soft, gentle feel to any canvas. Blush beach is the palette of a desert vacation, tanned shoulders, freckles, and iced coffees.
Incorporate these hues when you’re looking to add a delicate, earthy feel to your project, or ground your project with a contrasting element to an otherwise bold summer look.
Defined color palettes are a clever way to introduce a cohesive look to any project year-round. But summer, especially, is the perfect time to amp up the energy and play on the season’s brilliant array of hues. There are endless ways to introduce a color-specific narrative in your work. Have fun with it!
For more summer sizzle sass and inspiration, take a look at these articles: