What are some design strategies to make a ‘dull’ colour palette feel more vibrant? [closed]

Given a set of colours in a branding/style guideline that have a very dull look & feel (dark blue, light grey, dark grey and black) and no alternatives as secondary colour, what are some possible design strategies that will make the website design look more bright and vibrant?

The reason for asking this question is because at the moment the branding strategy is being worked on at the moment, and there are conflicting opinions about the best way to make the brand more modern while still sticking to the existing standards. So I haven’t tried to come up with any designs yet and didn’t want to disclose more information so as to keep the client information private.

The argument for sticking to the original colour palette is to align with existing brand hierarchy, while the argument for either changing or extending the colour palette is because the colours that I have indicated are difficult to use for creating a bright and modern look & feel.

The question is not about exact implementation details, but some of the strategies of creating different look & feel using existing colour palettes rather than using complementary secondary colour palettes.

So one thing I thought of might be instead of using the primary colours for branding and make them very distinct, use them in more subtle ways like highlights and accents, but I can’t think of anything else.

The colour palette at the moment consists of:

  • Dark blue #113184
  • Bright blue #1179D2
  • Dark grey #777777
  • Light grey #333333
  • Black #000000

color swatches

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you using white as the background or highlight colour.


Have you considered that the aesthetic of the colors in the brand style guidelines are intended to be ‘dull’? If the guidelines only give you dull colors then it probably isn’t appropriate to make the design bright and vibrant. After all that’s what brand style guidelines are for.

Without making the design overly bright and vibrant you can still make the design visually interesting and engaging. One solution is to make use of images/photography or illustrations—without much else to draw the eye, a muted and dull color palette lends itself well to the use of large images or illustrations.

Other areas to pay attention to are the use of white/negative space, typography and discreet design elements such as the use of borders, line work and iconography. The limited color palette gives you more scope to be creative with other elements.

Source : Link , Question Author : Michael Lai , Answer Author : Cai

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