A bright and breezy cyan-mint, we’re tipping Aqua Menthe to be one of 2020’s most popular colors, based on a collation of our customers’ pixel data.

Reminiscent of crystal-clear tropical waters and summer vacations, this color balances brightness and serenity, making it the perfect choice for brands looking to create uplifting and evocative designs.

Read on to discover the origins and symbology of Aqua Menthe, and pick up tips for using minty hues in your designs.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Evoke Summer Memories
Image by contributor Pinkcandy.

Skip to the end of the article to find three cutting-edge Aqua Menthe color palettes for web, print, and interior design. Discover a whole spectrum of beautiful colors to use in your designs with our new color tool.

See the Aqua Menthe curated image collection.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Aqua Menthe Tones

Where is Aqua Menthe on a Color Wheel?

Aqua Menthe combines cyan and mint green. Cyan sits between blue and green on the color wheel, while mint is a pale tint of green. Being a combination of blue-green and a pale green, Aqua Menthe sits a little nearer towards green than blue on a modern color wheel.

On traditional painter’s color wheels, a variation of Aqua Menthe would have be achieved by adding white to viridian, a dark blue-green pigment that was first used in oil painting in the mid-19th century. This combination would create a pale mint green tint, commonly termed Spring Green.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Color Wheel

In web design, Aqua Menthe is an ultra-bright and vivid mint-green hue, with the hex code #7FFFD4.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Aqua Menthe Hex Code

Aqua Menthe’s Complementary Color

The complementary color of green is red, while blue’s complementary hue is orange. Because Aqua Menthe combines aspects of both cyan and mint green, its complementary color is red-orange, leaning towards more red than orange.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Aqua Menthe's Complementary Color

Try teaming Aqua Menthe with scarlet or brick, or pair with our other 2020 trending color, Lush Lava, for a striking palette that combines warm and cool tones in equal measure.

Use Shutterstock’s color tool to explore more reds that work beautifully with Aqua Menthe, including red orange, crimson, or Bittersweet.

Color wheel images adapted from contributor Antun Hirsman.

The Meaning of Aqua Menthe

Aqua Menthe combines cyan and green, and inherits some of the meaning and psychology of both of these colors.

Blue is believed to give the viewer a sense of calm and relaxation, while green is primarily associated with growth, life and energy. Green is also renowned for being the most soothing color for the eye to process, and has a proven ability to help alleviate anxiety and depression.

Aqua Menthe inherits the calmness of blue and the healing power of green to create an overwhelmingly positive and life-affirming color. The pastel tint of Aqua Menthe dilutes the stronger psychological traits of both blue and green, such as melancholy (blue) and lethargy (green), resulting in a fresh and dynamic color that audiences would almost always perceive as positive.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Calm and Healing Aqua Menthe
Image by contributor Sven Hansche.

Aqua Menthe’s close relation, mint green, has established ties to healing and relaxation. Surgeons wear mint green scrubs, while pharmacies and hospitals are often decorated in mint green to relieve the anxiety and stress of patients.

The oceans of many tropical regions appear more green than blue, thanks to the presence of phytoplankton, microscopic marine algae that contain green-light-reflecting chlorophyll. Reflecting their coastal palette, Caribbean residents also favor mint-green paint shades for their homes. Aqua Menthe embodies the tropical oceanic palette of these regions, making it instantly reminiscent of summer vacations and beachside escapes.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Tropical Tones
Image by contributor Mark Bridger.

The Origins of Aqua Menthe

Variations of mint green colors have been prized for their beauty and luminosity since early human history. In Ancient Egypt, quartz was ground down into powder to create faience, a material with a glassy texture which reflected luminous blue-green colors. This material was used in place of clay to create pottery, statues, jewelry and amulets, many of which display a milky mint-green color not dissimilar to Aqua Menthe.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Egyptian Origins
Image by contributor Krikkiat.

Much later, the public interest in Egyptology, spurred on by the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, revived a popularity for mint green. Jewelry from this period often combines mint green or blue enamel with gold or black to create an Art Deco interpretation of Egyptian style.

In the 1930s and 1940s, pastel shades fell from favor, but were revisited in the post-war period. The optimistic outlook of the 1950s was the perfect backdrop for shades of mint and baby pink to take center stage. Pastel colors were associated in particular with women and the domestic areas of the home, with kitchens refitted in a palette of pastel tones.

The popularity of pastels spilled over into other industries and products, with the car industry taking note. Cadillacs, Chevrolets, and Beetles were issued in a spectrum of ice cream shades, and are still seen as iconic symbols of mid-century style today.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Classic Cadillac
A 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Seville Coupe in a fashionable shade of mint-green. Image by contributor Gertan.

The springlike optimism of mint green has never failed to delight fashionable consumers, eager to shake off the dark and sombre colors of winter. The color is a perennial favorite at spring runway shows, with showgoers often turning to mint green shades to mark the lighter, brighter days of spring and summer.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Spring Fashion Statement
Emili Sindlev after a fashion show during Paris Fashion Week 2019. Image by contributor Creative Lab.

How to Design with Aqua Menthe

Aqua Menthe is an ultra-bright pastel color created with web design in mind. However, the color is equally applicable to other areas of design. It is especially effective for food packaging, retail branding, and interior design, since all three benefit from its soothing and tropical personality.

You can enhance the ice cream-like quality of Aqua Menthe by using the shade in marbled textures. Use this texture to adorn packaging or set it as a delectable backdrop to websites and apps.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Aqua Menthe Marble Texture
Packaging design for Lolli & Pops chocolate boxes by Valerie Durak.

The vibrancy of Aqua Menthe makes it the perfect accent color to pair with neutral shades or black-and-white photography. Here, Polish designer Jarosław Dziubek also makes use of gradients and geometric shapes to give the color a modernist spin for a brand identity project.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Aqua Menthe Modern Take

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Aqua Menthe Modernist Brand Identity
Brand identity design for the IEEF (Institute of Economic and Financial Expertise) by Jarosław Dziubek.

In interior design, Aqua Menthe is best used as an accent tone in 1950s-inspired schemes, or combined with varying shades of blue or green to create a relaxing space that soothes the mind and soul. Bring in natural elements, like warm woods, rattan, and house plants to bring out the color’s tropical temperament.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Calming Aqua Menthe Interior Design
Image by contributor Followtheflow.

What Colors Go With Aqua Menthe?

To maximize Aqua Menthe’s tropical mood, team with juicy orange hues, such as bright orange, jaffa orange, or Exuberance.

To create a calmer scheme for interior design or illustration, look to Aqua Menthe’s complementary color, red-orange, to bring a warm and cosy feel to a room or layout.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Aqua Menthe's Complementary Colors Add Warmth
Image by contributor Nelia L.

Achieve a contemporary spin on mid-century style by combining Aqua Menthe with dusky pink, cream, and black, like in this brand identity created by Lyndi Priest for marketing agency Olli & Co.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Mid-Century Pastels
Brand identity design by Lyndi Priest for Olli & Co.

When it comes to clothing, a singular mint item can lean towards the preppy. Pastel hues have more fashion-forward impact when worn head-to-toe. Embrace the saccharine nature of Aqua Menthe by combining it with candy hues, such as baby pink or raspberry.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Aqua Menthe Outfit
A showgoer pairs an Aqua Menthe outfit with nostalgic pink sunglasses before the Fendi fashion show at Milan Fashion Week. Image by contributor aniarenard

Here, discover three on-trend color palettes to make the most of Aqua Menthe in your designs in 2020.

Palette 1: Gelato Jewels

Inspired by the colors of Italian gelato flavors, this punchy palette combines two of Shutterstock’s 2020 trending colors, Aqua Menthe and Lush Lava, alongside chocolate-gray and raspberry.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Gelato Jewels

Palette 2: Caribbean Doorway

Looking for a scheme that conjures up a vacation mood? Perfect for bringing summer spirit to brand identities or websites, this palette looks to Phantom Blue to add a calming note when teamed with Aqua Menthe and burnt orange.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Caribbean Doorway

Palette 3: Royal Mint

Purple and mint might not be the most obvious of color combinations, but these jewel-like colors really do look fabulous paired together. Graduate from dusky lavender to deep, rich mauve in your scheme, creating an elegant, sophisticated palette that would work beautifully for interior design or illustration.

2020's Freshest Color Trend: Aqua Menthe — Royal Mint

Ready to discover more beautiful colors to use in your designs?

Find a whole spectrum of incredible colors with our new color tool that helps to bring your projects to life.

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Cover image via contributor Comaniciu Dan.