Discover the 2021 Color Trends: Tidewater Green

Change is a given, and no color symbolizes this more than Tidewater Green, one of the trending hues from our 2021 Color Trend report.

Inspired by the ebbs and flows of tides and seasons, this deep, molten teal is both dynamic and subtle—a sophisticated, salving color lifted from the dark, quiet places of the natural world. 

Tidewater Green Banner
Image by AlexMaster.

With a yellow undertone and balanced green and blue hues, Tidewater Green, like other hybrid colors, has a fluid and enigmatic personality. Unique and contemporary, it makes a striking alternative to dark green or gray. 

Tidewater Green
Image by Ruslan Galliullin.

We analyze search data to compile our annual Color Trends report, unearthing the colors that designers, photographers, and tastemakers are downloading and using in their work. Tidewater Green is the deep and moody companion to our other trending color shades for 2021—soothing Set Sail Champagne and luxurious Fortuna Gold.

Read on to find out more about the meaning and psychology of Tidewater Green in your designs. Plus, discover ten on-trend color palettes that bring out the best of this enigmatic teal. 

Tidewater Green Mood Board

Tidewater Green

Named after a little freshwater duck with a green-blue band on its wing and around its eye, teal is a hybrid color that can sit closer towards either blue or green. Tidewater Green contains more green than blue, and gets its depth from its gray undertone. A dash of yellow also gives this color a sense of energy. 

Teal Feathers on a Macaw
Image by Michael Fitzsimmons.

Like other hybrid colors, such as red-orange and indigo, teal has a complex personality. It is a unique color, without clamoring for attention. 

A dark teal green, Tidewater Green is invested with more of the mood and psychology of green than blue. It feels rejuvenating, organic, and healing rather than conservative or somber.

 Tidewater Green Mood Board

A dark color that nonetheless feels lively and dynamic, it’s interesting enough to be an accent color in schemes with neutral tones of gray, cream, or earth tones. Or, use Tidewater Green as an alternative to gray and pair it with lighter, brighter hues such as lavender, powder pink, or sage green. When infused with metallic tones, it’s an atmospheric and nocturnal alternative to gold, copper, or silver.     

Try Tidewater Green alongside our other 2021 color trends, Set Sail Champage and Fortuna Gold, for a complementary palette that plays with dark, light, and metallic tones.

2021 Color Trends

The Symbology and Meaning of Tidewater Green

In the West, teal is a modern color. The first named instance of “teal” in the English language occurred in 1917. However, teal has deeper historical associations in many cultures. Ancient Egyptians cherished teal for its similarity to highly-valued turquoise, or “mefkhat.” Artisans used variations of blue-green pigment, symbolizing faith and truth, on murals and other artworks. In Tibetan Buddhism, teal also has a sacred quality, as it is symbolic of the infinity of sea and sky.

Teal Blue Color Palette
Image by Shutterbug Tracy.

In Western culture, “teal” refers to a cooler teal—teal blue—rather than teal green. Teal blue was a popular color for interiors and products during the 1950s, associating it with the Mid-Century Modern style. 

Often grouped alongside jewel colors like emerald, ruby, and amethyst, the beautiful teal sapphire, albeit a less conventional jewel than diamonds or garnets, is blue-green in its most dazzling form. This gem reveals intertwining marine and forest shades in a mesmerizing interpretation of the teal color.

Since teal’s heyday in Western culture in the 1950s, it has always retained an association with individualism, artistic expression, and style. Less attention-grabbing than other jewel-toned colors, teal hues are for those who want to appear apart from the mainstream in an effortless and subtle way. The color of choice for discreet fashion-insiders and fans of iconic mid-century design, teal still intrigues and fascinates.

Teal Blue Color Palette
Image by JpegPhotographer.

Tidewater Green, as a dark form of teal green, combines the meanings of both green and blue. Green is revitalizing and peaceful, while blue is serene and imaginative. But, by swaying more towards green, this tone has more influence over the color’s personality. Shedding the conservatism of blue and retaining the health-giving properties of green, Tidewater Green is a healing salve after a turbulent year. It’s also intrinsically connected with the natural rhythms of the environment.    

Tidewater Green
Image by AlexMaster.

Read on to discover how to use Tidewater Green in your projects, from the colors that work alongside it to on-trend palettes to pin and use now.  


Colors to Pair with Tidewater Green

Grown-up and worldly, Tidewater Green on its own can make designs feel luxurious and mature, invested with history and authority. The perfect color choice for sophisticated branding and interior design—from high-end packaging to boutique hotels—Tidewater Green is mature rather than conservative or stuffy.

Paired with warm metallics such as Fortuna Gold, brass, or copper, it lends an utterly luxurious feel to schemes. Meanwhile, teaming it with pale neutral shades of gray or cream (try Set Sail Champagne) brings out its preppy side. 

For an edgier and more contemporary palette, look to complementary and fiery red-orange to achieve a modern take on the classic amber-teal combination. Or, pair Tidewater Green with pale, dusky shades such as lavender, blush pink, mint, or sage green for a scheme that’s both grounded and airy. 

Tidewater Green Color Palette
Image by iriskarightnow.

Complementary Color

Red-orange is the complementary color of teal, as it sits opposite to it on a color wheel. Teal greens like Tidewater Green shift more towards the red end of the spectrum.

Pair Tidewater Green with a brilliant scarlet with orange undertones, like vermilion, to see the color come to life. This color combination balances the coolness of teal with the fiery heat of vermilion, making for an intriguing and perfectly-tuned color pairing. 

Complementary Colors

Analogous Colors

Sitting on either side of Tidewater Green on the color wheel are green and blue. Use these cool colors to bring a soothing, natural tone to designs that is instantly evocative of marine colors.

Analogous Colors

Triadic Colors

Placed across from Tidewater Green in a triangular formation is yellow-orange and red-violet. Deep yellows like ochre or brown-yellow colors like amber will sit happily alongside red-violet or magenta and Tidewater Green, creating a dynamic and lively scheme. 

Triadic Colors

Tidewater Green: 10 Color Palettes to Inspire

Deep, molten, and dramatic, Tidewater Green is the enigmatic hue your designs have been waiting for. Able to bring contemporary edge to bright and pastel schemes, or depth and maturity to neutral palettes, this rich teal is surprisingly versatile and pairs beautifully with a broad spectrum of colors.  

Downplay its serious side by combining with bright and bold magenta, one of its triadic companions. Or, instead pair Tidewater Green with its complement, a vibrant red-orange, for a balanced but head-turning palette that suits on-trend branding projects.  

Explore the dynamism and depth of Tidewater Green in your own projects with these ten trending palette ideas, and share or pin them for future inspiration.

Palette #1: Golden Emerald

Glamorous yet subtle, this luxurious scheme pairs Tidewater Green with our other 2021 color trend Fortuna Gold. It also adds emerald green and earthy ochre for the perfect balance of cool-warm and bright-muted colors.

Golden Emerald Color Palette
Image by yulia ivanenko.

Palette #2: Night Light

Tidewater Green is a nocturnal color, more closely affiliated with the night than daylight hours. This palette is inspired by the mix of green and blue tones that appear at the fringes between darkness and the lights of headlights and street lamps.  

Night Tones Color Palette
Image by Sergii Baibak.

Palette #3: Tidal Reef

Teal green and red-orange are not only complementary to each other, but occur in nature more often than might be expected. Coral reefs, with their deep red-orange color, are naturally juxtaposed against deep green-blue waters. Balance the depth of Tidewater Green and dark red with paler coral and turquoise hues.

Coral Reef Palette
Image by Stephen Kerkhofs.

Palette #4: Teal and Orange

A celebration of the classic teal and orange color combination, this palette deepens both shades to create a more soothing, grown-up take on the complementary pairing. Try on product packaging for a sophisticated spin on this trending color duo.

Teal and Orange Color Palette
Image by Klavdiya Krinichnaya.

Palette #5: Foggy Forest

A take on the subtle colors of forest glades on winter mornings, this combination works best for interior design. This palette shows how Tidewater Green can anchor airy, light colors, thus creating a well-rounded color scheme.

Foggy Forest Color Palette
Image by Papuchalka – kaelaimages.

Palette #6: Sunset Teal

Since it is closely related to orange and red, pink is a natural companion for a complementary teal scheme. Here, it brings a soft, calming mood to a sunset-inspired palette. This scheme is perfect for summer-themed projects.

Sunset Teal Color Palette
Image by Garillar.

Palette #7: Victoriana

Dark teal was a popular choice for interior decoration during the Victorian period, although the color would’ve been referred to as a variation of green at the time. Here Tidewater Green teams up with our other 2021 color trend, Set Sail Champagne, as well as deep and dusky purple shades to pay tribute to Victorian styling.

Victorian Color Palette
Image by SvetaKost.

Palette #8: Teal Beach

Coastal places often provide the most surprising, yet effortless, color schemes. This invigorating palette combines cool marine tones with warmer, sandy shades.

Coastal Color Palette
Image by Radu Bercan.

Palette #9: Dandelion 

This pared-back scheme combines the trio of 2021 color trends—Tidewater Green, Set Sail Champagne, and Fortuna Gold. Add a deep sky blue for a natural palette inspired by a summer’s day.

Dandelion Color Palette
Image by Barry Savage.

Palette #10: Magenta Pop

Magenta might not be an obvious companion for Tidewater Green, but it works amazingly well, especially when combined with a pop of cooling blue. This edgy palette would work best for logo and branding projects that need something fresh and distinct. 

Magenta Color Palette
Image by vovidzha.

You can completely transform your projects with an intelligent use of color. Learn how to use color branding to create a one-of-a-kind portfolio, and discover the various fascinating meanings behind colors from cultures around the globe:

Cover image by contributor AlexMaster.