Monochromatic hue schemes are derived from a single base color, and extended using its shades and tints.


"Colors are only symbols. Reality is to be found in luminance alone." "When I run out of blue, I use red."
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Pablo_Picasso_The_Tragedy_1903.jpg (95778 bytes)
The Tragedy 1903 rose1904.jpg (17671 bytes) 1904  kleeEmbrace.jpg (140491 bytes) Paul Klee Embrace

The monochromatic color scheme uses variations in lightness and saturation of a single color.

This scheme looks clean and elegant. Monochromatic colors go well together, producing a soothing effect. The monochromatic scheme is very easy on the eyes, especially with blue or green hues. You can use it to establish an overall mood. The primary color can be integrated with neutral colors such as black, white, or gray. However, it can be difficult, when using this scheme, to highlight the most important elements. 

Colors are never emotionally neutral. The color in Sandy Skoglund's Radioactive Cats creates yet another interpretation of an interior space. The gray humans seem lifeless, while the lime-green cats glow with an inquisitive energy that may be toxic!

Sandy Skoglund, Radioactive Cats, 1980


What type of sites use monochromatic colors? Why are you being subjected to all this color crap anyway? Don’t give up yet…

A monochromatic color scheme is often used by sites whose content is of extreme importance, overriding the need to capture an audience with the site itself. It can give a site a clean and classic look, but also provides excellent opportunities to let full color photographs dominate. Think serious political and business sites, banks, customer confidence, as well as fashion sites that understand monochromatic schemes support their own branding and allows photographs to really stand out.

Godiva needs no introduction to any chocolate lover. In their site, they have not worried about branding, other than their branded name. The monochrome colors they have chosen are neutral shades of orange which serve well to highlight text and compliment the photos of their recipes.



Pros: The monochromatic scheme is easy to manage, and always looks balanced and visually appealing.

Tips: Use tints, shades, and tones of the key color to enhance the scheme. Try the analogous scheme; it offers more nuances while retaining the simplicity and elegance of the monochromatic scheme.