The past years have left societies across the world adrift in unsettling political, economic and environmental times. Consumers have been feeling more anxious than ever, with Americans among the most stressed in the world, according to a 2018 survey by Gallup. Now brands and consumers, eager to move the conversation on from bleak, dystopic times, are casting a more measured and reassuring lens on the future. “While many refer to these times as the age of anxiety, I’ve begun to feel cautiously optimistic,” Brenda Milis, creative trends lead at Adobe, tells Wunderman Thompson Intelligence.

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Image by Alexey Kuzma/Stocksy. Courtesy Adobe Stock

Pantone Color Institute unveiled Classic Blue as the color of 2020. The chosen color, explains the company, highlights “our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era.”

“We are living in a time that requires trust and faith,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Prior to announcing Pantone Color of the Year, the Pantone Color Institute unveiled a positive and energetic palette for spring/summer 2020, which includes a fierce Flame Scarlet red and a strong Saffron yellow. The overall tone is bright and warm, with colors that are bold but grounded, to communicate “a story of colorful expression,” explains Eiseman. “Strong and vibrant, this season’s color palette displays our determined desire for positivity and uplift.” Classic Blue, chosen to represent 2020, perfectly captures a sense of thoughtful optimism. Pantone describes the color as “evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky,” opening up a world of possibilities.

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Image by Refresh. Courtesy Adobe Stock

As forecasters’ projections of the year ahead gather momentum, forward-thinking companies are brightening the gloom by offering a measured and thoughtful outlook, one that is both realistic and optimistic. “A scaling number of creative projects and campaigns now focus on presenting honest emotions, expressiveness and connection. These are the kinds of visuals that have the power to build trust, community and help inspire thoughtful change in the world,” says Milis.

Lego launched a playful campaign in September 2019 with a provocative mission, asking the next generation to take on the challenge to “Rebuild the World.” Prada’s spring/summer 2020 men’s collection, Optimist Rhythm, captures a “spirit of confidence, of enjoyment, of boundless positivity and possibility.” Brands are creatively casting a hopeful future for consumers by addressing change for good with hopeful messaging and energizing visual language.

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