All Things Monochrome and How To Use It For Your Design Project

The thought of making a project design using monochromatic colors could be intimidating at first, but take heed, because it can lead to compelling aesthetics and visuals. Monochromatic colors are always a hot concept and work well with different design projects.

In this article, we’ll explore the unique beauty of monochromatic colors and understand why it’s beneficial to any design project.

Why You Should Try a Monochromatic Color Scheme

abstract, black, paint


Besides its versatility, a monochromatic color scheme can render good effects to your design project and process in many ways such as the following:

  • It makes your job as a designer faster and easier. You don’t need to stress over picking the right colors or wondering if they go together and if your multifunctional printer can deliver the results you want.
  • It creates a visually cohesive and harmonious look.
  • It lets your content shine and doesn’t draw attention to itself.
  • It can supplement a brand with a distinct and notable color


black-and-white, bloom, blossom


Tones, tints, and shades are the biggest tools when it comes to using a monochromatic color scheme for your design. You need to familiarize each element as you will use them to create and combine different color frameworks.

Below are the names of the elements that you need to familiarize yourself.

  • Base color: It is the main color selected for the color palette. It is the starting point of all colors that you want to use.
  • Hue: It’s one of the twelve purest colors found on the color wheel.
  • Shade: The combination of color and black to create a darker color.
  • Tint: The combination of color and white to make a lighter color.
  • Tone: The combination of color and gray to create an intense color.

Usage of Monochrome Scheme

  • Fax Heads – Due to the loss of tonal details when you fax a document, a monochrome color is the best format for the retention of legibility and clarity in design.
  • Unusual surfaces – There are company logo applications that require the use of monochromatic logo designs. The typical examples are sandblasting, embroidering, and engraving.
  • Collaborations – There will be situations where your logo will stand alongside other brands. For instance, joint projects, corporate sponsorships, and other collaborations. The easiest way to avert visual clutter and let everyone get an equal share in the brand real estate is to prompt all the logos in a monochrome manner.

Techniques for Designing With Monochromatic Color

bark, black-and-white, branches


Simplify a Hectic Design

Sometimes, it’s inevitable that you need to compress a lot of information into a limited space which only makes your design even more confusing with lots of colors. A one-color palette helps make a layout look more organized and cleaner.

Most designs, for practical sake, will use some white or black (for background, text, etc.) besides monochromatic colors.

Create Progression and Relationship With Your Design

Making your design harmonious and well put together is one of the benefits of sticking to one color in your design. It’s not just a visual effect but also functional. Showing the relationship of your design’s features and how they communicate with each other helps viewers instantly understand the purpose and message of your design.

Use an Intense Color in An Understated Way

For designers, experimenting with different color combinations can be fun. But often, those bright and bold shades just aren’t appropriate for a business client or work project. A monochromatic palette can also add some variety to your usual color choices and tones down loud colors to channel a more professional look.

Keep It Simple

There could be an endless number of shades, tones, and tints that you can come up with for any base color. However, it doesn’t mean that you need too many color variations in a monochromatic design.

Use as many as you need to separate your design elements to keep your colors down to a manageable number. For example, a three-color layout is a typical concept and might consist of text color, background color, and accent color for graphics or other elements.

Double Your Color

If you have two related designs, say a pair of product labels for the same brand or several flyers for a concert series, using two contrasting monochromatic palettes is good as it can create a striking effect. It will show that your designs correlate together even though they are different.

Try the Shades of Gray

Grayscale is a print setup that uses gray shades to recreate color variation. Most artists and designers often use grayscale to save money when color is not necessary for viewing a design. Apart from print projects, you can also use this idea and apply it to your own color scheme.

Just like black and white, those color palettes with gray features can create a sophisticated and minimal look to your design.

Experiment With An Almost Monochromatic Scheme

Occasionally, a strict monochromatic color palette isn’t practical. However, you can slightly bend the rules and still retain the nature of a monochromatic color scheme, both its functionality and visual effect. Below are the common approaches that you can try out.

  • Black and white – Designers have varying opinions as to whether a black-and-white color scheme is a monochromatic type. However, it’s the most basic color scheme, and you can easily use it with or without accent colors.
  • Monochromatic palette plus an accent color – This scheme is very efficient if the extra color has a particular purpose in your design. For example, to point out contact information, a call to action or highlight a logo.
  • Same color family – Although it’s not monochromatic by technicalities, a color palette from the same color family yields the same effect regarding organizing information and visual harmony.

Final Thoughts

Monochromatic colors are versatile and are an easy-to-apply option for any design. But of course, you don’t need to be a stickler for the traditional definition of monochromes. You can add extra color or two to enhance or complement the effects of your design. So, now it’s your turn to utilize this color scheme in your design project.