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Moonwake: Dunn-Edwards 2021 Color + Design Trends

Design Trends

Moonwake: reflection of moonlight on a body of water

“Anytime you try something new and creative, the very next thought you experience is fear,” said Elizabeth Gilbert, author and poet. Yet creativity is the cornerstone of a happy life. As you face a new design project, how do you face your fears and unmask that creative spark? Moonwake speaks to the mysteries of the creative process, letting go of fear and nourishing new ideas.

We feel a need to give the future back a certain amount of mystery and magic, while continuing to nourish imaginative ideas, awaken creativity by giving it meaning, and recording this process over time.

Moonwake speaks to our collective desire to connect. Design takes on an atmosphere of romance downtown at night — a picture that is both vibrant and dark with fantastical verdant themes running throughout. The ritual of forest-bathing takes on journeys as the woodland opens up its mysteries with every step down an unknown path. There is a heightened fondness for nature and biophilic design is front and center.

Spurred by the growing popularity of fortune-tellers and psychics, along with consumers’ desire to reconnect with nature, Moonwake highlights a need for escapism with layers of intuition and magic. The mood is fabricated with nocturnal colorways, shadowy florals and organic shapes that often feel disturbed.

There is a focus on cyber-reality, technological infusion, eco-sustainability and an interest in what lies beyond. The online world is a greater need than ever, as our daily functions and connectivity rely on digital apps and computers; thus, becoming a blurry reality between analogue and digital.


As we dive further into the electronic world, we create dramatic avatars for our virtual worlds. And the design realm is responding — with online fashion shows and fitting rooms, while furniture and décor industries are creating robust online showrooms.

With this new, deeper level of cyber-integration and fantasy, a curious and playful utopia of oceanic and forest influences has emerged, drawing us into magical, immersive experiences such as secret gardens and otherworldly delights.

Escapism is fundamental to the Moonwake aesthetic. Showcasing surreal flora and fauna in this fantasy world, it focuses on natural iridescence, overgrown proportions, liquid movement and subtle undercurrent of beautiful decay. The full lifecycle of nature is on display.


As we seek refuge in virtual worlds, designs concentrate on warped forms, sci-fi allure, soft dimensions and molded synthetics. Try a twist of nostalgia in clashing design eras with overtones of opulence to create surreal atmospheres.

Moonwake displays a warm, romantic and decadent palette filled with nocturnal moods. This melancholy palette starts with a base of deep darks tinged with acid, luminous cloudy blues and flashy purples.


Splashy accents on city-influenced dark tones, shimmering monochromatics, intense color — a story of noir fiction. Positive energies display luminous brights and intense neutrals, uplifting the spirit in this dreamy escape that sparks energy. Hyper blends of blues, greens and pinks mixed with pastels showcase these fantasy-driven colors.

Intense chromas are decadent ties to digital realities, while purple shades nurture the imagination. Uplifting coral and chartreuse promote the importance of mood-boosting color.

Color Palette


Materials and Textures
Moonwake transports us to a playful, eco-fantasy utopia filled with forest and marine images. Beyond the aesthetic, we look to material, textures and surfaces that speak to this story. Commercial spaces are especially influenced by Moonwake, creating immersive experiences such as hidden sanctuaries and Alice in Wonderland-style landscapes.

Fairytale escapes — organic utopia, luminous glass, crisp silk, shimmering coatings, lacquered glitter, soft surfaces such as velvet and chenille — all inspired by nocturnal luxuries and Art Deco jazz lounges.


  • Fabrics allude to the Renaissance. Iridescent lace, or lace with insect or branch motifs, and textured velvet, help create this dark fairytale aesthetic.


  • Florals are bright and outlined with metallic yarns, which take on a more eroded appearance than pure metallic. Abstract jacquards for outerwear are updated with wavy lines.
  • Dark creatures on prints and tableware embrace a darker view of garden escapism.

Otherworldy — ethereal and futuristic. What’s real anymore? Otherworldly highlights the blend of cyber and reality, creating a “new familiar” in design.

  • Tweeds and wool suiting, too, are blurred with brushed effects. Prints are abstract forms that don’t resemble anything in real life.
  • A new level of coziness with “rich, full-body fabrics” and “dense products without the weight.” The cocooning trend evolves with shapes that are “generously cozy” and that are “blown-up” yet ultra-light.


  • Lighting is key as designers push boundaries with ethereal lighting formations.
  • Lucite, resin, Murano glass, silicone, powder-coated steel and concrete materials are key material inspirations to futuristic design play.

Psychedelic opulence — a heightened sensorial experience through design, distorted outlines and exaggerated form push design boundaries, while kaleidoscope coloring lends a playful quality.


  • Accessories are based in dark metallic and are enhanced with gasoline effects or “shadowy enamel.”
  • Warm and cool color blends with newer techniques, tie-dye enhance, surface movement and hybrid creations.

Bio-tech fixation — the deeper, mysterious qualities of underground biodiversity emerge as novel forms of inspiration for eco-fantasy designs.


  • Moss covering, mushrooms, intricate micro-views of organic matter, faux rust, warped metals, sandblasted glass, carved textures and marbled textiles all play with form and function for organic décor.

To learn more about our 2021 color + design trends report, click here. And to view the full 2021 color palette, visit us here.