How to Use Monochromatic Color for a Design that Sells

  •    Carrie is a designer and content marketer. She works promoting the Roanoke Region of Virginia and has more than 10 years of media and marketing experience.

Did you know color can help you sell products in your online shop? Monochromatic color schemes, which are palettes that use one dominant color, can create visual interest and spotlight your products, helping you convert website visitors into customers.

Use Bold Colors for Attention

Monochromatic yellow on Sprint website

There's a reason that many “Buy Now" and “Sale" buttons and banners are red. Because it sells. The bright, bold color begs attention and helps guide users through the buying process.

But red is not the only bold option available to you — try other bright, highly saturated colors. Use colors that complement your products and overall branding scheme to create a palette that wows users. Pair a single color with whites and grays for a modern style with plenty of impact, such as mobile phone provider Sprint.

One of the best ways to use a single color for your website design is with multiple hues, such as a light blue background with dark blue accents or buttons. This monochromatic color outline can be visually interesting, establish brand loyalty with color association, and help users move from browsing your website to a final purchase.

Set the Mood with Branding-Based Color

Monochromatic blue on brand site

Some of the most well-known brands are linked to a single color. Think of retailers like Coca-Cola (red), Sprint (yellow) or Blue Buffalo (blue). Each uses color to establish brand loyalty and connection. The colors represent an identity, visual expression and create a mood that is associated with the brand.

Understanding some common color associations can help you in the search for the perfect color palette for your business. The same color associations you created as a child with mood rings are a basic outline for how those colors relate to retail.

  • Red: Love, passion and warmth
  • Blue: Harmony, intelligence and desire
  • Green: Hope, youth and nature
  • Yellow: Fun, energy and joy
  • Pink: Romance, femininity and tenderness
  • Purple: Faith, fashion and fantasy

Develop a Seasonal Vibe

Seasonal red on Macy's homepage

You can use color to add a touch of seasonal spirit to your website. When the holidays come around again, opt for colors that have holiday associations to appeal to specific types of shoppers. Try a monochromatic red or green palette to draw users who are looking for holiday sales. (The nice thing about color associations is that you don't even have to mention a specific holiday, but shoppers will understand the visual connection.)

You can use that same idea throughout the year for seasonal promotions – for example, use orange for fall or greens for spring – to help set a seasonal tone. Macy's effectively uses multiple shades of red for the winter and holiday season.

5 Tips for Picking a Color

So you want to try a monochromatic color concept, but don't know where to start. Here are five quick tips that can work on almost any site design.

  1. Select a color that's part of your overall branding and use variations of it, such as lighter and darker options.
  2. Use one color against a white, black or gray design. Use color only for shop items and calls-to-action. This contrast will draw users to products and buttons to make a purchase.
  3. Think seasonally. Switching up colors on your website throughout the year adds visual interest. Connect the dominant color palette to popular items during that selling period.
  4. Do a little research and choose a color that creates the association or emotion you want users to feel when they are looking at your shop items.
  5. When in doubt, go bright. Fun, saturated hues are more engaging that pastels or dark colors. (People say gray is boring for a reason.)

Putting It All Together

Working with just one color can be a striking way to create an appealing website design. Try a visual that is completely monochromatic, such as the Macy's banner above, or use one color to add focus and attention to a design in a more minimal-style or black and white aesthetic.