Search for Dark Academia on Pinterest and you’ll find limitless inspiration similar to these pulpy brown shades. They’re dusty and rich, with the buzzing warmth of things well-made and long-used. It’s fashion, it’s aesthetic, it’s a lifestyle.

I’ve been slowly gathering props and backgrounds inspired by this aesthetic — in preparation for my client’s fall shoots. They’re mixing really well with warm metallics too.

In color theory, brands usually use brown to signal the outdoors and rugged masculinity. Think that lumberjack, raw edge wood aesthetic. You’ll see it on logos for beard products or mixed with plaid flannel patterns. But that’s such a limiting way to look at the tone.

Brown is dark and warm — and can look elegant as a substitute for black. Right now, it’s kind of fresh — as part of that 90s and 90s aesthetic revival we’re seeing.

I’m planning to pair deep, warm browns with tan, mustard, navy and brick red. Burgundy and royal blue might get some attention as well. For props, I’m looking for metal objects in warm gold or brass — perhaps with a little mercury glass. I also want to bring in twill, tweed, and buttery (faux) leather textures. Smokey elements (like burning insense or filtering light) will help create the mood.

With that mix, my client’s customers will be ready to curl up with a coffee and shop.