Earlier this year I highlighted monochromatic design and hypercolour as two of my 18 web design trends for 2014. There is a third way that lives inbetween these two approaches: choosing a limited palette and using different shades of colour.

Designers who go down this route typically choose one vibrant colour (and various shades thereof) and offset it against a neutral background. Sometimes two (or more) complementary colours come into play. 

I thought I’d share a few examples, to hopefully provide you with a little visual inspiration. Many of these examples are, to my eye, rather elegant. 

Select Device

Corey Haggard’s ‘Select Device’ works through a forest green colour palette…

Qatar Airways

Yasser Achachi’s elegant design for this mobile app is one of my favourites. So pretty, and with such a limited palette. Shades of dark pink and crimson look lovely. 

Colour Wheel

Frantisek Krivda’s colour wheel appears to be diving to the bottom of the ocean…  

GEO Project

Alexander Zaytsev uses the colours of a hazy sunset.

Polaroid

This monochromatic app design concept for Polaroid is absolutely gorgeous. The various shades of grey are offset with colour from the product imagery. A real shame that it didn’t get past the concept stage, but top marks to Mikey Hu. 

Events Newsfeed

Alex Strasman uses a card-coloured shades of beige for the background, and darker shades for the text and iconography. A little texture works well here too.  

Alpiner

Rajmund Kuhn dives into the green and blue spectrum, and adds a little fade.

SJQHUB

A data visualisation app that seemingly mirrors the background imagery, along with more shades of grey and a dollop of fade.

Near Guide

This golf course finder app primarily uses shades of peppermint, offset with grey, while the scorecard switches into full-on hypercolour mode. 

Airbank

Tomas Jerabek’s concept for think banking app cycles through shades a few of green.

Timezone

Another app concept, which uses oranges and purples for the look and feel. 

Weather App

Amine Mounazil uses the colours of a hot sunny day for this weather app UI. 

Weather App – Spring / Fall edition

Meanwhile, it appears to be colder in France…

Lifebookie

Here’s another lovely peppermint-based palette.

What do you think? Have you seen any other examples of visual design based around a limited colour palette? Do leave a comment below.