Colour Grading Trends for 2023

Is your colour grade #trending?

7 August 2023


We took a moment to delve into 2023’s colour grade trends and where we think the industry might be heading in 2024.


Looking back to the grey wasteland of 2022

Have we moved away from the desaturated, cool colours and muted tones of 2022 that led to this article investigating where all the colours had gone, and why so many film and TV shows looked like they were filmed in “a grey wasteland?”


Image of Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken, dressed in neon, from Greta Gerwig's 2023 film "Barbie"

Image Credit: Barbie, by Greta Gerwig, 2023


From Minimalism to An Explosion of Colour

In early 2023 the colour grading was trending towards the minimalist.  Colourists aimed to work with and enhance the images captured by the DOP while maintaining a naturalistic look and feel.  This look may have been partly inspired by the rise of the influencer movement and the increase in popularity of more simple, mobile-generated videos.

However, the explosion in awareness of AI platforms such as Midjourney or DALL-E onto the scene this year (as discussed in an earlier Peachy blog!) which can produce striking images with just a text prompt, may have helped lead to an increased appetite for more vibrant, colourful and stylised content.

The Barbie movie was a major late influence on the colour landscape in 2023, showcasing iconic pink and bright, saturated colours.  Sparkles and metallics came back on trend, with Beyonce and Taylor Swift’s mega concerts revitalising these fashions and local economies whereever they were performed.  Consumers embraced these colour influences by dressing up for the movie releases and concerts and we have already seen this bold colour explosion inspiring smaller TV and advertising projects.






Colour grade trends and colour theory

The importance of colour grading is sometimes underrated, when compared to the art of cinematography or great editing.   However, it’s important to understand that colour grading has a huge impact on how the work makes the audience feel.  Colours can evoke a deep emotional response. More than just happy or sad, colour can evoke nostalgia, comfort, suspense and unease. Trends in colour grading communicate with the audience on a subconscious level. A great colourist builds upon the work of those who came before them in production and post, embedding a mood and tone that will last long after the credits roll.


Creatives and personal style

Some filmmakers have a consistent style in the colour palette they will use (we noticed the use of Wes Anderson’s distinctive yellowish-green tint in the parody videos that recently took over TikTok).  Commercial directors might move with the trends and completely change their look and style depending on the subject matter of their project or product they’re showcasing.  Many colourists also have their own unique style, that can be maintained while accommodating the director/ DOP and creative team’s brief.

Green-tinged colour graded shot of a man leaning against a phone booth, people in a desert landscape in the background. Image from Wes Anderson's 2023 film "Asteroid City"

Image Credit: Asteroid City, by Wes Anderson, 2023


Looking ahead to 2024

With lots of AI innovation in the tools and plugins now becoming available and with a trust in colourists to bring their unique vision to a project and to elevate beautiful footage further, the future is looking brighter, more varied, creative and individualistic – and we love to see it!



Check out this trailer for new documentary series Founder, graded by Peachy Keen Colour and on air now – or read about the differences between colour grading commercials and longform work here.