Graphic Design: Muted Color Palettes

Graphical Design

Over the last few years, we have seen the rise of bold colors in the design, as brands looked to differentiate themselves from competitors. With electric yellows, bright blues, and toxic greens looking all over the yearly graphic design trends.

But in 2020, we will be going to see designers and brands take a step back from those bright colors towards more muted color palettes.

Muted colors have been slightly desaturated with black, white, or a complementary color. They are basically the opposite of vivid colors.

As you can see below, Every Marketing team has been using these muted colors.

Marketing Free Marketing

I think muted colors as vivid colors that have had their “edge” taken off with an infusion of black or white. The image below is a good example of both light and dark muted colors actually.


This example shows that a muted color palette can be used in a similar way with a much lighter background.


When you’re working with a white background, try to use lighter muted colors and vice versa for black backgrounds. This will ensure that the colors blend well.

Additionally, you can use a muted background color to make simple text or content a lot easier to read.


For example, the vivid colors previously used by Apple in their marketing, and even the new iPhone colors, have been replaced by more muted tones.

Apple Mobile

As you can see, these muted colors make the product feel a lot more modern and current. The Apple Card gradient, which would normally feature loud or bright colors like with Apple Music, actually uses muted colors too!

Head Phone Siri Search

So if you’re looking to update your graphic design for 2020, I would recommend starting with a muted color palette. You can even use your brand colors as a starting point and build a whole secondary color palette by adding some black or white.

Author: Niyati Jani