Monochromatic Color Schemes – An In Depth Guide

Monochromatic Color Schemes

A no nonsense guide to explaining monochromatic color schemes and how to use a monochromatic color palette

Color is one of the core tools we have as creatives. Whether you are a photographer, designer, florist, painter or artist – Anyone who creates for a living (or hobby!) can benefit from deepening their understanding of color and how to use it effectively. Color schemes are guidelines that help us understand how colors work together and interact. In this article we’ll explain what a monochromatic color scheme is and take a look at how and when to use monochromatic color schemes in your work.

A monochromatic color scheme is a method of color design where all the colors in your palette are taken from a single primary color. Put more simply, monochromatic color schemes use only one color and different shades of that color. Monochromatic color palettes are both visually striking and easy to implement.

Think of monochromatic color palettes like the ultimate in color minimalism. They’re super easy to figure out, because all you need to do is choose ONE color, and limit yourself to staying within different shades of your chosen color.

The strengths of Monochromatic Color Schemes:

Monochromatic color palettes may be simple in concept, but they give us an extremely powerful way of bringing focus and unity to a design. When color is limited to one family, textures and shades take on a much deeper meaning.

Tips for working with Monochromatic Color Palettes

Here are a few quick tips for getting the most out of a monochromatic color theme in your work:

  • Provide variety and contrast through different textures and shapes
  • Choose your color family based around the emotion you want to elicit. Reds are more aggressive and high energy, oranges are warm, blues are calming but cold – Choose intentionally.
  • Want extra impact? Consider a single feature item of a contrasting color. While technically breaking the monochromatic theme, placing a single item of a different color into your composition adds striking contrast to your scene – Just be sure to make this the most important element of the composition.

Here are some great photo examples of monochromatic color schemes in action:

Hopefully these examples have sparked some ideas you can take and apply to your next image. Whether you’re using monochromatic color schemes for your photography, artwork or home design, they are a powerful way to work with color, texture and light.

What do you think? Will you be using monochromatic color schemes in your next project?

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Monochromatic is just one of several different color schemes.

Want to learn even more about color? Check out these articles:

Now go create something awesome!