“Move over millennial pink; Gen Z yellow is poised to be one of the top five trend colors for 2020” 

Is yellow the new millennial pink? Being called “Gen Z Yellow,” the next trend color falls somewhere between marigold yellow and yellow mustard. This is not your mom’s or grandmother’s harvest-gold refrigerator of the 1970s; it’s a fresh take on this deeper hue. Its grounded, earthy, baked tones have already been touted as one of the top five color trends for 2020.

From fashion and interior design to packaging, branding and, yes, flowers, yellow is making its move into our lives. It’s been on the rise in fashion for the last few years and is getting ready to hit mass appeal in 2020 in year-round home décor, weddings and events.

From the bolder Gen Z yellow to the softer Pantone 12-0720 Mellow Yellow, this trend is actually on somewhat of a sliding scale of the color wheel. It’s not so much about the exact hue of yellow but rather about the feeling it gives and how one chooses to embrace it.

Where did it come from?

Like millennial pink, yellow did not spontaneously emerge overnight as a color trend; it happened over time.

For 2019, traditional red carpet runways have been painted yellow. New York Fashion Week, the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the Tony Awards and the Billboard Music Awards have all witnessed models and celebrities sporting yellow, from Emily Blunt, Rachel Brosnahan and America Ferrera to Ashley Parks, Cardi B and Serena Williams. The “Queen Bey,” Beyoncé herself, powered yellow on stage at Coachella 2018 with a backup entourage of more than 100 musicians and dancers all decked out in yellow. 2017 saw fashionista celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Blake Lively, Gigi Hadid and more strutting yellow in front of the cameras and on video. In 2015, Rhianna walked the red carpet at the Met Gala in a yellow dress with a 16-foot-long train that took three people to carry.

Applications of yellow

The color of happiness and hope, yellow reflects freshness, positivity, energy and enlightenment. Yellow is a psychologically strong color because it represents optimism and light, and it’s the first hue that human eyes notice. It taps into emotional responses by mimicking the look and feel of sunshine.

For home and office décor, yellow can bring brightness and joy. You do not have to paint entire rooms yellow or purchase yellow sofas and love-seats to bring the color home; you can embrace it with bright, crisp accessories and accents. Seek it out in textiles, light fixtures and small accessories to give spaces a pop to their stories.

Saffron yellow and gold tones were featured at Christmasworld 2019, in Frankfurt, Germany. The “Kinemona Vintage” show (bit.ly/kinemona), from the Dutch design team at 2dezign (Rudi Tuinman and Pascal Koeleman), was created to inspire extravagant large-scale window and in-store displays – in yellow.

“The various shades of yellow will make an ultramodern impression this winter season [2019],” says Tuinman.

“This year, the focus is very much on flowers, with lots of yellow roses and Gerbera and white orchid plants,” says Koeleman. “Although not a traditional Christmas color, yellow combines easily with other colors to cast a warm glow on the holiday.” Those colors include metallic gold, cinnamon, blues, warm red-oranges and, especially, greens.

In the wedding world, brides are seeking yellow tints, tones and shades from soft butter to lemonade to marigold to deep ochre. These yellows coordinate brilliantly with white, cream, ivory and green, making it amazing for wedding flowers and décor. It is the perfect color for all styles of brides and weddings, be they “bohemian desert,” “elegant formal” or “gathered from the garden.”

How lucky are we that yellow flowers are so readily available and abundant? It’s easy to tell any story in yellow with so many floral options: textural yarrow, tansy and Solidago; romantic Ranunculus and roses; happy Gerbera and Zinnia; and exotic Mokara orchids, shampoo gingers and callas. There’s something in yellow for everyone.

Bill Schaffer, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, and Kristine Kratt, AIFD, PFCI, are the creative directors behind Schaffer Designs, a floral event company. Bill and Kris are diverse contributors in the floral industry, specializing in not only trend translations, education, product development, and showroom and trade-show design but also commissioned floral installations. They’re also award-winning authors. Email bill@schafferdesigns.com and/or kris@schafferdesigns.com