Mlkboard 005 | Duotones

10 Mar 2017

If you can keep up with the Kardashians then you wouldn't have problems keeping up with the latest design trend that's going to be part of 2017's Big League. Right, I just made that up but I'd like to think I delivered a good opening for this post. Regardless, the first moodboard of this month will feature all things duotones.

So, what the heck is a duotone?

If you're a designer, you're probably familiar with it already. But even if you don't, I'm sure you have seen artworks like these and maybe, at one point, you thought they're gradients or overlays. Although not entirely wrong since the process of duotone involves gradients (on Photoshop, for instance), duotone is more of a term on its own. It's also different from overlays (see overlay design here.)

By definition, duotone refers to halftone reproduction of images to enhance their middle tones and highlights. The process to achieve a duotone color effect is to use and combine two colors, usually very bright and contrast, to produce bold images on neutral backgrounds. You can achieve this effect on Photoshop (see guideline here) or use a two-color gradient.

The use of duotone was first popularized by Spotify, which is why this style of design looks familiar especially within the music industry. Ever since Spotify pushed this kind of look for their platform, a lot of brands and designers have been following the trend.

Read more about it and other design trends that will take over 2017 here.

As you can see, the first and second moodboards feature duotone color effect in print design. I'm not sure if you noticed but I purposely did the second moodboard as a giant duotone mash-up kind of thing. It feels slightly trippy to look at, I admit. Then again, the use of two very vibrant colors and combining them give off this different take and usage on colors.

The third moodboard features examples of duotone effect in UI (user interface) designs. A lot of examples are mostly seen on music players because like I said earlier, Spotify dropped the bomb and now people are starting to play around with it too. Despite being a minimalist lover, I actually like this trend. I think the misunderstanding surrounding minimalist is that everything needs to be 90% white and while that's what you see on Instagram, it doesn't mean minimalist shouldn't involve colors.

Now, duotone is definitely not minimalist but it's still a very creative thing to do. It's definitely a new take on experimenting with colors and to stray away from the whole Instagram minimalist impostors, and the neutral color scheme of white, grey and black. I also think duotone looks good for poster design, a medium meant to catch people's attention. It is also without a doubt a fitting style for music industries.

Last but not least, keep in mind that just because there are downloadable Photoshop preset duotone actions around Google, choosing two colors that can form a harmonious blend of duotone effect is not easy. I personally am not good at it since I'm no pro designer yet. Also, just because it's widely used in music players and streaming services doesn't mean you shouldn't use for other medium.

images: pinterest board 001 | pinterest board 002 | 003 | 004

if you want to know each specific source, head to pinterest and view each image to be redirected.

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