2020 commercial building color trends

2020 Commercial Building Color Trends

by | Aug 14, 2020 | Blog

Color is playing a bigger role than ever in design, especially in the commercial sphere.  Color use has become analogous to branding and marketing. Therefore, colorized materials are becoming more widespread and a more important design element in commercial construction.  In a survey, most design professionals said that color plays a more-critical role in today’s building design projects than those from a decade ago. This is due in part to the fact that clients are more willing to take more risks and accept more variation on their projects– businesses want to break the status quo and stand out from their competitors. In this post we examine and explore commercial color trends and what is driving them.

Why is Color Important?


Color tells stories & helps create a memorable customer experience that differentiates your brand’s store/office. Because color is one of the first elements of design that visitors notice, and colors set a particular tone and mood for your space, they are a critical part of establishing brand recognition. Not only that, but even though construction costs have been rising across the board, color remains an easy way to add impact to your space for less cost. A good understanding of color psychology and how to leverage colors can have big benefits. Ultimately, color has important emotional and cultural connections.  Hence, color is one of the most effective means of communication between environments and occupants.

Increased Importance of Color Over The Last Decade


The bright and saturated color of digital advertising and entertainment has come to dominate our lives. Thus, the expectation of vibrant color in real life environments has increased to match that trend. As prices have gone up, color is increasingly turned to as an economical design element.  Additionally, there is a shift in generational preferences that places more emphasis on packaging design and branding, which translates to buildings and architecture. The way buildings look is now of utmost importance, maybe even more than the quality of the structure. Furthermore, heightened client design awareness and improved digital technology has resulted in more clients requesting custom color combinations. More businesses, especially in the health care sector, are now using colors to highlight specific areas.  Overall, color trends have now blurred the line between functional color design and art.


2020 commercial building color trends
2020 colors of the year

Color Applications:


There are several areas to think about when planning color strategy.  Focus on using color to benefit the following domains of your business:

  1. Branding
  2. Overall Aesthetic
  3. Lighting
  4. Occupant mood, wellbeing, & performance
  5. Wayfinding
  6. Attracting and retaining tenants


Color Inspiration


Color palette choices can be inspired by a number of sources, including nature, fashion, photography, and products. In the design industry, color is now encouraged to be more experiential, bold, and trendy. Consequently, color has become a more powerful branding tool, mood setter, and tool for imparting new character to buildings.

Color Innovations


An increase in color and pattern options in most material types now allows designers to more efficiently drill down on specific looks. Improvements in color printing and technology mean that it is easier and less expensive to create a greater range of custom color and finishes, and photographic materials. Color trends are driven by a greater emphasis on analyzing the relationship between lighting and the sheen and color materials. Innovations include textured coatings for aluminum, hydrophobic coatings for stone, metallic paints/finishes, improved fade resistance, and color translucency on glass and plastics. It is likely that the use of special effects coatings will continue to increase on exterior building designs.The following innovations have become more common in integrating color with architecture:

  • Low or Zero VOC products
  • Color matching across material types
    • color palettes can be generated from an uploaded image of any material
  • Textured Finishes
  • Color-changing LED lighting
    • ability to program color changes across the day
  • Ultra Matte Finishes
  • Antimicrobial paint/coatings
  • Graffiti-resistant paints/coatings
  • Ultra High Gloss
  • High solar reflectance colors
  • Iridescent/color-changing hues
  • Sparkled/Glittered coatings
  • Pollution-eating paints/coatings
  • Holographic coatings



sources of color inspiration



Color offers limitless opportunities to add personal touches and branding from the lighting of a space to the stone used on the floor.  With all of the color-related innovations in recent years and an increased focus on creating vibrant spaces, it’s clear that color should play a big part of the strategy when remodeling, renovating, or constructing a new build. One of the most exciting parts of the bidding process is choosing the finishes that will make your space beautiful and memorable.  If you want us to help you plan and build a space that will speak to your visitors, please reach out today at 480-832-9808, or email us for a free consultation and project estimate.

colorful office photo by hayn cattach

Photo by Haydn Cattach

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