Aesthetics Wiki

This article is part of a series on the Frutiger Family

Bright Tertiaries is a broad aesthetic, graphic design style and interior design style originating in the Mid-2000s alongside contemporary and visually similar aesthetics such as Frutiger Aero, Frutiger Metro, and Four Colors. It was used for several purposes (mostly by corporations), being incredibly popular during its era. It was utilized for interior décor, architecture, graphic design, clothing, consumer electronics, and media. Bright Tertiaries is primarily centered around a tertiary color palette (lime green, fuchsia, orange, and teal). It began to fall out of mainstream use in the early 2010s, design trends experiencing a major shift from Frutiger-esque maximalist designs to Minimalistic philosophies such as Flat Design.


Stylistic Origins (1980s-Early 2000s)[]

Bright Tertiaries' earliest stylistic roots can be traced back to Memphis Design in the 1980s, both aesthetics making use of blocks of contrasting color.

Mainstream Adoption (Mid-2000s)[]

Bright Tertiaries emerged in the Mid-2000s during the period when the Frutiger Family of aesthetics were emerging into the mainstream and '90s aesthetics such as Y2K Futurism were in decline. It was in response to the "anything goes" philosophy of Late-1990s/Early-2000s aesthetics, opting for a more refined, "humanistic" look. Bright Tertiaries was utilized in a variety of ways such as interior décor, architecture, graphic design, clothing, consumer electronics, and media; interior décor and architecture in particular were very prominent, a large portion of these being within educational grounds such as schools or colleges. Due to its sheer abundance and variety, Bright Tertiaries is almost synonymous with the zeitgeist of the 2000s, being a part of what most consider nostalgic about the decade.

Prime (c. 2007-2012)[]

During its prime, Bright Tertiaries was almost omnipresent in most aspects of everyday life, similar to Frutiger Aero and adjacent aesthetics. Bright Tertiaries experienced an increase in use in media such as video games and movies, as well as variants of consumer electronics; these color variants overlap with Four Colors, a related aesthetic that has a similar color scheme to Bright Tertiaries.

Decline (Early/Mid-2010s)[]

At the beginning of the 2010s, the zeitgeist and overall optimism of the 2000s were fading. This manifested itself in prominent 2000s aesthetics such as Frutiger Aero, Frutiger Metro, and Four Colors falling out of mainstream popularity in favor of a more minimalistic era encapsulated by Flat Design, and later Corporate Memphis. By 2017, Flat Design was established completely.

Related Aesthetics[]

Frutiger Aero[]

Main article: Frutiger Aero

Frutiger Aero (also known as Web 2.0 Gloss) is a broad design style and aesthetic that was prevalent in advertising, media, stock imagery and technology from roughly 2004 to 2013, following the end of the Y2K Futurism era and overlapping with the McBling, Surf Crush, and ElectroPop 08 aesthetics. It is characterized by its vast use of Skeuomorphism, glossy textures, cloudy skies, tropical fish, water, bubbles, glass, lens flare, sprawling patterns, "humanism", aero glass, bokeh, Frutiger fonts, Abstract Tech, auroras and bright, vibrant colors (usually greens and blues). Bright Tertiaries and Frutiger Aero are related due to their similar visuals, overlap including nature iconography, humanism, sprawling patterns, and a tertiary color palette.

Frutiger Metro[]

Main article: Frutiger Metro

Frutiger Metro (also known as Flat Frutiger Aero, Vector Metro, or Vector Vomit) is a broad aesthetic that encompasses the "Frutiger" vector-based graphic designs of the 2000s. These designs share a lot of similarities with Frutiger Aero and other aesthetics of the time. Unlike Frutiger Aero which contains large amounts of depth and texture, Frutiger Metro is flat. Frutiger Metro and Bright Tertiaries often incorporate the same themes, such as sprawling patterns, flat blocks of color, and nature iconography.

Four Colors[]

Main article: Four Colors

Four Colors was a frequently used color scheme found in consumer products and consumer technology during the Mid-2000s to the Early-2010s, first primarily seen around 2004 as a part of Apple's iPod "Silhouette" advertising campaign. It is a subgenre of Superflat Pop and Frutiger Aero and prominently consists of the colors electric lime, sky blue, hot pink and neon orange, similar to the tertiary color palette used in Bright Tertiaries. Four Colors is popular in Japan with stores and brands such as Daiso, Sony and Fujifilm.


Main article: Technozen

Technozen, short for Techno Kawaii Zen, (alternatively referred to as Yuki) is an aesthetic primarily inspired by the aesthetics of Mid/Late-2000s Japanese technology. It can be described as cold, sterile, and professional looking, and at the same time, cozy, friendly, and cute. It is the Japanese counterpart of Frutiger Aero and it is described as a sub-aesthetic of it; however, Technozen is largely evocative of Asian design while Frutiger Aero is more global. It is similar to Bright Tertiaries in its soft, clean, and sterile designs.


Bright Tertiaries visuals follow the 2000s trend of incorporating colors that invoke feelings of nature, flourishes, naturist patterns, and a general consumer friendly "humanist" feel. This is very similar to aesthetics that were mainstream during the same time such as Frutiger Aero, Frutiger Metro, Four Colors, and Technozen; these similarities often cause a lot of overlap between Bright Tertiaries and the previously mentioned aesthetics. Common motifs for Bright Tertiaries visuals include:

  • Tertiary color palette (lime green, fuchsia, orange, and teal)
  • Round edges
  • Intricate patterns
  • Flourishes
  • Nature iconography (eg. flowers)
  • Blocks of flat color

Interior Décor (& Architecture)[]

Interior décor most commonly utilizes flat blocks of color, a singular object usually only being one hue; this description can also be applied to the architecture. Occasionally, minimalist patterns similar to Flat Metro (a Frutiger Metro subgenre) will be employed.


Clothing that falls under Bright Tertiaries mostly use flowers and simple/childish patterns, black being a common background color. Due to this, clothing that falls under this aesthetic is usually intended for women or young girls/infants. These patterns share similarities with Frutiger Metro and Vectorgarden.

Consumer Electronics[]

Consumer Electronics featuring Bright Tertiaries mostly overlap with Four Colors due to their shared color scheme and their tendency to use flat blocks of color. The color scheme is a little looser, employing colors outside the general tertiary color palette to a small extent.