22. Bring Multiple Elements Together To Tell A Story Design by Laura Bancroft for Piper Winston
This powerful underwater photograph is paired with a simple, yet powerful message. The notion of exploring is depicted in the photograph, as you see waves crashing over the figure while he’s under them. It suggests to look all around you (even if you’re underwater) for inspiration to ignite your creativity, and to constantly keep the process going. The way the typography is handled is very simple, and allows the photo to be dominant. The breaking of the ‘e’ in explore adds in a unique, unexpected twist – just like the breaking of the waves in the photograph.
This wallpaper is similar to the last due to the fact that it showcases another month in the year. It depicts a cute illustration of a leprechaun (a nod to St. Patrick’s day) ‘marching’ through the scene tugging bright greenery behind him. It is an allusion to the warm and fruitful spring to come, and the bright greens and yellows bring joy to the scene.
A great way to let your type and imagery interact in an interesting way is to let them layer, just as this beautiful monochromatic example by Jordan Hu does. By layering letters, words, and little chunks of type over the image in a way that highlights the image’s shapes and dimensions, this piece creates a delicate and natural effect where no one element overpowers the next.
Black and white can seem like a very inflexible palette, but believe me when I say, it’s actually quite the opposite. In fact, black and white is incredible versatile, easy to use, and effective as anything!
46. Take Inspiration From Classic Imagery Design by Harbr.co
A black and white palette is a classic for a reason, you can work it to become just about anything you want it to be – classic, sharp, modern, or traditional. All it takes is the right application, the right intent, and you’re ready to go.
The messaging on this wallpaper POPS. The contrast of the vibrant red against the black text, and the black text against the pale backdrop creates an energy next to none. The red action lines aren’t anything crazy on their own, but when paired with the text they add in a fun, vibrant, and exciting element – truly supercharging the statement. To create a wallpaper with as much energy as this one, choose a quote, play with vibrant colors and accents, and determine where your action lines will make the most impact.
Type is how we communicate ideas and thoughts, so make sure people pay attention to your type by embellishing it with a sharp black and white palette and stunning typographic composition, just as this design by Friends of Type has done. This beautiful (entirely hand crafted!) piece uses a mishmash of shapes, typographical styles and bold and thin lines to bring this Bueller quote to life.
This poster design by Atelier Martino & Jaña combines type and imagery in a fluid, natural way, by working with the curves and contours of the image. By using custom hand type and elegant monochromatic watercolor effects to complement the focal image, this piece flows beautifully from one element into the next, creating a classy and sophisticated design.
48. Add A Backbone To Text With Shadow Design by Christian Robinson
45. Indulge Yourself With Humor In Design Design by Lauren Hom
13. Utilize Subliminal Messaging In Your Design Design by Leysa Flores
In this list, you’ll find some of the best desktop wallpapers of all time for creatives, with tips from an expert designer on how you can design them yourself.
100 brilliant color combinations and how to apply them to your designs
31. Pair Warm And Cool Colors Together To Create Interest Design by Dave Franzese and Mark Miller for Dark Igloo
If you’re a digital creative, one place to constantly find inspiration is on your computer desktop. The temptation for us all is to slap up one of those default nature wallpapers and call it a day, but how inspired do they make you feel to create and innovate?
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Why have just one business card design when you can have four? This design by Shutterfly via The Tomkat Studio plays up on the flexibility of black and white palettes by creating four different geometric pattern-based card designs. Consider mixing and matching your monochromatic patterns and designs to keep things fresh and new!
25. Be Inspirational In Every Way Possible Design by Breanna Rose
In this list we’ll look at 50 stunning monochromatic designs and hopefully you’ll quickly begin to notice how flexible this small palette really is, and just how easy it is for you to kickstart your own black and white designs. So, let’s get started.
Taking inspiration from traditional or vintage designs is always great, but how can we make our design appear modern and stylish while maintain that old world charm? Well, this website design for The Ordinary manages to do that by combining elegant vintage-inspired type, photography, and textures with a sleek monochromatic palette and clean navigable layout, keeping it charming and traditional, and not out of touch or outdated.
Black and white color schemes are already pretty bold, so consider complementing that with an equally as bold design. This branding set by Studio—JQ and Matt Wilson uses scale to help the brand mark pack a punch and act as the main visual focal point.
38. Don’t Use Words Where They Aren’t Needed Design by Julie Lee
08. Use Abstraction To Communicate Ideas Design by Gabriella Sanchez
This wallpaper was created for DesignLoveFest, and plays off the ideas of dreams versus fears. Dream are conceptualized as white, with fears being blue. You can see the dreams are bigger than the fears, but there is constant back and forth between which one is in control. The simplicity of the design with its hand drawn font and organic imagery work together, and the pink in the background adds a subtle positivity. The end result is encouraging, and helps to remind us all that we can out dream our fears.
01. Find Inspiration With A Powerful Contrast Of Type And Photography Design by Sam Stratton
Taking inspiration from anywhere and everywhere is often the best way to unlock a simple and clever idea. For example, this poster design via Fumettologicamente for an architecture conference takes inspiration from blueprint design by using fine lines to create a structure around the focal graphic element. This simple concept is complemented by a simple design and palette to make it a smart and powerful piece.
The background of this wallpaper is clearly tropical leaves, an indicator of a beautiful and foreign tropical location. The message on this wallpaper clearly states to work like a boss, meaning to work hard. Pairing these two together suggests that when you work hard, you reap the best rewards. The organicness of the typography plays well with the organic nature of the leaves, and the warm, sand-like texture helps to drive the idea of a tropical paradise home and encourages you to work harder.
This wallpaper pairs a blurry background image of a wheat field with the soft, hand drawn typeface Velik. The style of the font works well with the style of the photograph, but stands out just enough to allow the message to appear loud and clear. It alludes to the idea of being present in the moment, even if everything around you is a blur.
Another way to add texture to your design is by breaking out the watercolors and adding some soft watercolor effects to your elements, just as this save the date card by A Fabulous Fete does. By pairing this with the elegant, effortless script type, the clean white space and the simple body copy, this soft texturing can disrupt that clean, stark effect, and add a little organic touch.
At first glance, it’s a little difficult to tell what exactly the image is in this wallpaper – but that’s the beauty of it. Is it a flower? A cabbage? Maybe some crumpled up paper? Who cares! It can be whatever you want it to be after you read it’s accompanying quote. The quote itself is straightforward, and so is its design. All caps text, just bold enough to stand out and incorporating just a little color from the background help bring harmony between the two. The thin box surrounding the text helps to separate it from the image, and creates interesting overlap. To create your own choose an image you like, dial down its opacity, and lay your quote over top. Select a few words to draw attention to and make them a pop of color.
But, despite this, for lots of designers, stripping your design’s palette back to just black and white might not seem like a viable option, or it might not even have crossed your mind.
This wallpaper takes a quote and turns it into something more. The handlettering and the placement of the text creates an almost stamp-like illustration. The splatters of texture inside the letters creates a luxurious feel, and the high contrast of the light text and the dark background forces the message out at you. When creating a wallpaper similar to the style of this one, arrange your text around a shape of your desire. Pick some important words to highlight and put them in a large, scripted font.
This beautiful wallpaper takes lovely plants and flowers and arranges them on a simple, white background. The natural colors pop and add a wonderful sweetness to the image. The imagery speaks for itself, and doesn’t need any accompanying text to help it along.
White space is a magical tool in the world of design, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t always have to be white. In the case of this design by Philippe Apeloig, the white space is black, but it acts just like any other piece white space out there would – it frames, declutters, simplifies and lets the design ‘breathe’, putting the focus back on the important elements, like that clever dimensional typographical title.
04. Bring A Design Together With Color Washes Quote from Robert Kiyosaki
This wallpaper is very reminiscent of the previous one, with the collaging of images and a pop of baby pink. What sets this one apart, however, is the contrast of the black and white image of the woman with the color in the rest of the imagery. These images paired together tell the story of a woman caught in a rain storm, yet her face is obscured so you can project your own emotions onto it.
This wallpaper takes candy-cane like text and pairs it against a stark, arctic landscape. The bright cheeriness of the actual word cheer provides a whimsical and delightful scene, reminiscent of Winter holidays. If you’d like to pair text with patterns, choose a pattern that matches the mood of the text you’re working with.
The white typography pairs very well with the black and white background image. The type stands out, yet works together with the photograph to set the scene. The intricate detailing of ‘hustle’ bleeds into the rocks, and creates an interesting overlap that adds in a lot of dimension. The contrast of the organic, flowing type against the rugged, harsh rocks suggests that by loving the hustle, you’ll ease through the rough patches in life. It could get a little messy (hence the grainy texture overtop), but in the end everything will be groovin’.
This design by My Little Fabric pairs an elegant and detailed illustration with a crisp white transparent frame and elegant type to create a super simple, classic design. The contrast of the sharp graphic against the traditional serifs and illustrations keeps this design fresh and modern, while still retaining that vintage-inspired charm.
28. Create Clever Negative Space Illustrations via Moodboard
Got a lot of information to include on one page? Consider breaking that info up into separate blocks by using sharp, fine lines, just as this example by Amanda Jane Jones does. This piece divides the elegant monochromatic type and imagery into a modular grid which creates a strong structure and very neat composition.
Like bread and butter, monochromatic palettes and letterpressing effects just naturally fit together. Don’t believe me? Check out this branding kit by Anastasia Yakovleva that uses a sharp letterpressing effect to bring depth and tactility to the bold black and white design.
40. Detailed Illustrations vs. Sharp Graphics My Little Fabric
As designer Chloe Galea notes, this striking branding set “(Takes) inspiration from optical illusionary art, and the idea of makeup as a way of creating illusions, the packaging for the Classic Collection uses a series of monotone patterns to create a striking collection, bold enough to stand out from competition”.
10. Use Obscurity To Your Advantage Quote from Walt Disney. Design source unknown
A woman with brown hair focuses her camera out a window in Memphis
We tend to think of patterns as colorful, geometric things, but check out this monochromatic design by Pharaoh that instead uses elegant and detailed illustrations to form a branded pattern. The combination of mysterious, beautifully drawn elements and the sharp black and white palette make this branding kit effective and striking.
This design by Metric72 brings a whole lot of drama to the table. This poster manages to pack a real punch by using a perfect combo of a striking black and white palette, a powerfully constructed image, bold leading lines, and an atypical diagonal alignment in place of the typical horizontal/vertical alignment.
The background of this wallpaper image is understated, yet still important with its paint-like strokes. These skewed strokes melt into the skewed text of the quote. The angles of the quote and the background strokes complement the meaning of the quote, and are full of action and forward movement.
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If there’s one thing all creative industries can agree on, it’s that black and white is a timeless duo.
This wallpaper features a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. While the text itself is inspiring, the photograph in the background is undoubtedly powerful. The contrast of the central white text with the black and white photo really makes it stand out, and the lens flares add a unique touch and dimensional element. The subtle differences in the typefaces work together to create something special, and even though they’re different, they feel as if they all belong. To make one similar, choose a stunning background image and combine it with a powerful, inspiring quote from your favorite designer.
This handlettered piece truly becomes an illustration of its own with all of the graceful, careful linework. It is incredibly intricate and ornate, and stands out against the midnight blue background. The message pairs well with the background color, suggesting that it is now nighttime and a time for rest after a hectic, productive day. Flex your handlettering skills by sketching out one of your favorite quotes, or taking paint to paper. If you’re not the creative type, you can use one of the many decorative fonts in Canva’s collect and arrange each letter to create a composition.
This wallpaper is a representation of the month of July. The month is handlettered in bright red, suggesting the heat we feel during one of the hottest months of summer. The lettering is carefree and fun, much like the experiences we have during this time. Small little descriptive words and illustrations are used as a backdrop, each relating to something about the month. A great way to expand on this concept would be to do a different one for each month, which is a fun way to showcase the passing of the seasons.
This wallpaper of a ‘redneck cookout’ features a humorous vignette of a man and his dog enjoying the warmth of the beginning of summer. The illustrative style isn’t incredibly realistic, but the small detailing and textural work helps bring the scene to life. The colors are muted, yet still warm and pleasant – an indicator of the heat of summer to come.
This poster by Max Kuwertz foregoes the typical notions of cleanly set, linear poster type by instead crumpling and warping the bold type by using perspective to replicate a crumpled up piece of paper. This simple addition of the crumpled effect takes this design from ordinary and plain to unique, eye-catching, tangible, and memorable.
Describing a stationary object as having a lot of ‘movement’ can sound a little odd, but check out this design from Paperjam and note how it uses warped bold lines to create a sense of movement and depth. By overlapping the type with the graphic lines, this piece creates the illusion of the type being sucked into the design, giving the piece as a whole a very immersive effect.
14. Create Contrast With Black And White Photography Design by Ian Barnard
42. Illustrate A Message Design by Marisa Seguin and Julianna Brion
16. Fuse Typography And Imagery Together Design by Flourish Online
Designing with black and white: 50 striking examples for your inspiration
A wallpaper can really come together when all of its parts and pieces are harmonious. Instead of using this photograph of a snow-capped mountain as is, a subtle wash of blue was overlaid. Paired with the blue accents in the type and the white color of the text, the two come together to create something whole and inspiring. To make a wallpaper like this one, choose a photograph and put a transparent overlay on it, then simply add your text over top.
This wallpaper takes a simple idea and amplifies it. Placing uniquely handlettered text in the center of a white background isn’t exactly revolutionary, but the incorporation of a colorful gradient helps push it that way. The flow of color brings all of the text together, and helps make it stand out against the plain backdrop. Typically, gradients aren’t the greatest or most used tools at a designer’s disposal, but used in the right way they can be something really beautiful (after all, the quote is about rule breaking). The color scheme here keeps the message light and carefree.
A lot of optical illusions play on black and white color schemes, so take a leaf from Chloe Galea‘s book and channel that into your design.
32. Skew Text To Create Movement Modified quote from Pablo Picasso. Design by Dave Foster
Black and white shot of woman in hat and man taking picture in South Bank
Want to convey a particular emotion through your design without reaching for a vivid color? Have a go at using expressive type. This design by Sam Wood uses dramatic, hand painted type and a complementary lively and evocative image to channel excitement and drama. So, instead of using bold colors to communicate your message, try to use or create visual elements that pinpoint it in a unique way.
Who said frames have to always be square? And on that note, who said frames have to include the whole image? This design by Bili Cardona disregards these notions of frames by instead framing his focal image within a pattern of geometric shapes. These sharp shapes contrast neatly against the monochromatic image and bring a unique, modern flair to the design.
The beauty of black and white color schemes is that you can take your design and simply invert the colors and you have a whole new (still functional and effective) design in your hands. This invitation design by Robot Food does just that by having half the invitation as white on black and the other half inverted as black on white, creating a bold contrast between the two designs.
Contrast doesn’t just refer to light vs. dark, but also thick vs. thin, big vs. small, etc. so, consider experimenting with more than one form of contrast when building your design, just as Naranjo—Etxeberria does in this beautiful example. By contrasting not only light and dark tones, but also thick and thin lines within the graphics and type, this piece effectively amps up the contrast in more ways than one.
This wallpaper is a collage of beautiful flowers with sparkling stars nestled inside of them. The pairing of these two incredibly different items works very well, and gives off a unique spirit and feel. The dark burgundies of the flowers pairs well beside the light cream background, and truly stands out front and center.
28. Create Imagery Within Your Typography Quote from Owen Pallett’s None of You Will Ever See a Penny. Design by Chris Rushing
This wallpaper is playful, and even a little tongue in cheek. Most people aren’t thrilled at the sight of snow, so this image reads as a bit sarcastic. The bright, pinky-orange pops out against the dark, navy background. The in-between shade of blue gives the text a three-dimensional appearance, and gives the snow something to really hold on to. Making your own three-dimensional letters is relatively easy. Simply pick a simple, block-like font, create two copies, and position one behind the other in a different color.
This design by Themes channels the op-art movement by creating a striking and engrossing illusion that requires you to literally take a step back to appreciate its true form. This design plays on the contrast between black and white to create this ‘hidden’ illustration, proving that not only is black and white a good looking duo, but a highly flexible one too!
27. Take Inspiration From Newspapers Manitou Design, Shamil Karim and Kristina Udovichenko
This angular poster by LaGasulla reminds us that type doesn’t have to sit on a flat plane that extends from the left of the page to the right. In fact, as this piece shows us, sometimes by adjusting the perspective of your elements, you can create an intriguing appearance of dimension and depth.
05. Be Educational And Informative Design by Kevin Wittevrongel
This bright and cheery wallpaper pairs textural text with a textural background, but keeps it from getting too gritty with bright, sunrise inspired colors. The action lines above the word ‘always’ represents the rising sun, and make you feel as if you should already be hustling when the sun peeks out to begin a new day. To create an image like this, find a bright, textured image, and pair an inspiring quote over top. Include some action accent lines to add movement and dynamic.
Type in its most basic format is usually flat and linear, so why not spice it up by adding a little texture and effect to it like this poster by Ronan Kelly does. By using overlaid radial lines, shadowy edges, and warped letters, this design turns the type from flat and lifeless to dramatic and evocative.
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The illustration on this wallpaper starts out as something simple – a bike. The texture adds a nice tangible feeling as your eye travels down, and then it hits you. The wheels are actually the globe, and on this bike you can travel anywhere. The colors are warm, but subdued. They gently encourage you to get excited and take off – anywhere your two peddling feet can take you. Creating a similarly conceptual piece is relatively easy. Consider what you want your message to be, and think of a number of objects that can portray that, then, put two of them together that fit.
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21. Experiment With Collage To Communicate Different Ideas Design by Laura Bancroft for Piper Winston
34. Create Energy With Exploding Action Lines Design by Jennet Liaw
For more letterpressing inspiration, be sure to check out these 50 stunning letterpressed business cards to help get you inspired.
This 1993 poster by Armin Hofmann amps up the image contrast to bring out the lighter tones of the image, which helps to highlight the shapes and curves of the image. These highlighted curves are also contrasted with a sharp graphic that mimics the shape of the photograph and helps to both sharpen the image up and add a new layer of meaning.
What is the golden ratio? What you need to know and how to use it
Negative space refers to the space around a design, and the shape that space makes. This design by Mieczysław Wasilewski uses negative space to create a strong graphic that visualizes the titular concept. Consider using your bold black and white palette to create a strong, clever negative-space inspired design that packs a punch.
What’s black and white and red all over? This newspaper-inspired branding package by Manitou Design, Shamil Karim and Kristina Udovichenko. This newspaper inspired design uses type, illustrated imagery and a very editorial black and white color scheme to channel Russian traditions.
While an inspirational photograph could have been used in the background, the solid color truly lets the typography and message shine. The white text reflects very highly off of the background, and the subtlety of the dark black acts as an ‘in between’, creating balance with the stark white text and mid tone background color. The accent lines create action and movement, exciting the viewer and inspiring them to get to work. To create a wallpaper similar to this one, find an inspiring quote and pair it over your favorite color – you can even bring color into the quote itself.
47. Use Saturation To Make A Point Design by Cymone Wilder from Simon + Moose
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Consider pairing your sharp monochromatic color scheme with some bold lines to create a unique and stylized effect. This beautifully balanced piece by MUTI does just that with its symmetrical wire-like design, built up of bold white lines that contrast sharply against the black background, creating a stylish and evenly balanced illustration, jam packed full of symbols, illustrations, and a whole lot of character.
17. Layer Shapes To Create Unique Patterns Design by Irene Victoria
This wallpaper was created by a designer famous for handlettering, and that is shown incredibly well. It appears to be a little snapshot of his workplace, carefully arranged so that the work is central, surrounded by the tools that helped create it. It is inspiring and urges the viewer to create, and document their process.
his design by Helmo creates an engrossing effect by slicing and dicing each image and piecing them back together. The use of the sophisticated monochrome palette keeps this experimental design from becoming overwhelming, and the geometric shapes within the split images helps align the type and graphic elements in a neat, presentable way.
Textures are one of the most ubiquitous design elements around, and you can easily (and effectively) adjust them to fit within your new monochromatic palette. This design by Axel Lokrantz Månson uses a monochromatic marbling texture to add a simple, unique effect to what is otherwise an extremely simple design.
23. Relate The Style Of Your Typography With Your Photography Design by Breanna Rose
11. Allow Illustrations To Set The Tone Design by Swell Studios
The juxtaposition of the bright, golden text against the subdued, black and white background in this wallpaper is stunning. The text catches the light, and makes the idea of believing in something magical. The flowers add in a natural element, which balances the shine of the gold text and relates to the subtle, feminine curves of the font.
43. Showcase Characteristics Of Who You Are Design by Mike Giles
This wallpaper is very simple, and for good reason. The entire message is to continuing moving forward and to not give up. Centralizing the circle cropped image gives you a place to focus, and inside the image are flickers of light, which represent glimmers of hope. The typography of ‘don’t give up’ is intricate and feminine, giving whispers of encouragement.
A great way to highlight the stark contrast between your black and white palette is to create a striking negative space inspired graphic like the one in this poster via Moodboard. By creating this negative space, ambigram-like design (meaning it can be ‘read’ upside down or rightside up) the contrast between the two colors is made much more apparent and sharp. Have a play with negative space, and if you’re a bit more daring, ambigrams, and see what clever things you can unlock!
40. Use Simplicity To Its Full Advantage Design by Lisa Congdon
07. Add Texture To Simple Designs To Create Dimension Design by Loretta Wilson
Type is something that is always effective when executed in black and white, so why not scale it up and make it a focal point? This design by Pedro Arbeláez does just that by mish-mashing scaled-up and scaled-down type, creating a very effective design that blurs the line between body copy and titular type, transforming the type into the main visual element of this design.
So, next time you’re sitting down and getting ready to design a poster, invitation, or brand kit, just take time to consider cutting your color palette right down to just black and white. It might be a bit of a challenge at first, but trust that the end result can really pack a punch.
What fun is design if you can’t break the rules every now and then? This monochromatic design by Mash Creative bends a few traditional typographical rules by running the type off of the page at various points, and not aligning the entire title to one point. But, the effect of this is a really stunning, eye-catching and engaging poster.
Want to add something unique to your design? Consider framing it in a mysterious or atypical way. This intriguing poster design by Przemek Bizoń takes a bit of a unique approach to framing by only revealing segments of the underlying monochromatic image, which adds interest and a unique touch to the design. Plus, these block-like frames help make aligning elements much easier and faster – two birds, one stone.
This wallpaper features a number of images collaged together. The green plant life, the woman lounging, and the soft pink triangle all work together to set a scene. The modpodge of these images gives the wallpaper a retro vibe, but the harsh link of the triangle helps to bring it into the modern world. It is both contemporary and nostalgic. To create your own, find a selection of images you enjoy, cut them together, and overlay a transparent shape of color.
This wallpaper looks dark and moody. The black and white photograph sets the tone, and the dialed up textured grain adds a nice grit to the photograph. The text pops against the background, and the roughed up edges of the font pair well with the grain of the photograph. The curves of the font help to break up the roughness, and add in a much needed softness.
49. Pair Simplicity And Intricacy To Achieve Harmony Design by Cymone Wilder from Simon + Moose
44. Tell A Story With Illustration Design by Paul Windle and Ann Shen
35. Turn Typography Into An Illustrated Piece Design by Cymone Wilder from Simon + Moose
Due to the blurry nature of the background photo, the white type could have easily gotten a bit lost in the mix. The addition of a subtle, dark red background color helps to pull the white type forward, and give it true distinction from the background. It really accentuates the beautiful flow of the letters. The color choice works well with the warmth of the photo, and blends in nicely with the copper tones of the telescope behind the text. To make one for yourself, choose a beautiful photograph, add your favorite quote, and select a color similar to a color in the background to set it apart.
26. Create Something Unexpected By Bringing Two Unrelated Things Together Design by Alex Synge
Consider complimenting your super simple color palette with a super simple design. This monochromatic design by Cocorrina takes a walk on the mild side by pairing simple, elegant type with one simple graphic and just one focal image. By aligning these elements to the center of the page and upping the amount of white (or grey) space, this design remains stylish, beautiful, and simple. When in doubt, strip back your design and keep it simple.
36. Use Patterns To Create Contrast Design by Danny Jones and Jeremiah Shaw by Geo A Day
24. Explore Abstraction And Don’t Rely On Transparency Design by Adrián Zorzano
This branding design by Bureau Hofmann goes geometric by pairing a sharp flat black and white color palette with bold, heavy, shape-based letterforms. Heavily geometric branding can very easily look playful and quirky if a vibrant color scheme is used, but by using the simple black and white palette in this example, this design is kept strong, professional and punchy.
This movie poster by Kyle Kim blurs the line between illustrations and type by constructing a striking title out of sharp black bird silhouettes, which when contrasted against the white background form the title type. The use of clustered elements and the radial composition draws attention in toward the title and then out toward the exterior information, making this monochromatic design not only cool and clever, but functional too.
12. Use Realistic Photography To Send A Message Design by Kyla from House of Hipster
05. Naturally Combine Imagery and Type Atelier Martino & Jaña
This wallpaper is very simple. A white background, uniform circles in a grid pattern, and bright pops of color. What makes it unique, though, is the watercolor texture enclosed in each circle. Each one has its own personality and gives off a unique vibe. The color variants within each circle helps add dimension, where regular color filled circles could fall flat. The subtle ‘get creative’ nestled in the center two circles works well with the organicness of the watercolor, and doesn’t stand out too much or too little.
41. Create A Series Of Similar Wallpapers To Add In Fun Change Design by Liew Meija
When it comes to branding, we often assume that a brand has to have a signature color, but as this branding kit by Miklós Kiss proves, a monochromatic palette can be just as effective as any signature color. By using sharp lines, an intricate logotype and bold graphic elements, this branding kit stays professional and clean while still effectively memorable.
09. Use Gradients To Set A Mood Design by Molly Jacques Workshop
20. Create Harmony In Your Typography By Linking Letters Quote from Jimi Hendrix. Design by Ian Barnard
How to effectively use transparent backgrounds in graphic design
This wallpaper is bright and cheery. The sun-like oranges provide a happy pop of orange color, and the soft pink background brings in lovely warmth. The harsh light coming from the left of the wallpaper brings in a harsh shadow. The dark purplish-pink helps to ground the bright oranges, and provides a nice contrast with the light background. To create a similar photograph, arrange your objects on a light colored piece of paper, shine a light from one side, and snap your photo. To increase contrast and saturation, you can use Canva’s photo editing tools.
This wallpaper uses illustrations of flowers to create a beautiful background scape. The contrast of the black peaking through the bright flowers makes them pop, and the subtle band of text in the center is concise and to the point. The text’s meaning relates to the beauty of the background, and serves as an inspiring compliment that you already make beautiful things, so why not make some more?
18. Create A Mood With Texture And Contrast Design by Cristina Martinez of Cautiously Obsessed
This wallpaper is inspired by M.C. Escher’s Drawing Hands. It suggests the idea that even when we’re busy creating, something is creating us, and the cycle goes on and on – constantly inspiring our next burst of creativity. The colors are incredibly simple and bright (almost strictly a primary color palette), yet still convey the message in an un-juvenile way. You can create similar symmetry by creating one image, then flipping it over and lining it up to match.
The imagery in this wallpaper is both soothing and enigmatic. The pattern of the carefully arranged stones brings a sense of peace, yet it is unclear why they are arranged in this way. It doesn’t get more primitive than a bunch of rocks (perhaps tools of the Stone Age?), and the white backdrop only adds to the simplicity.
This image is truly inspiring. The welcoming scenery, the self-assuring quote, it really gives off a sense of refreshment and easygoing-ness. The text is nestled right in the image, almost as if it was actually there when the photo was snapped. The font is light and whimsical, which pairs perfectly with its message.
Over to You – Get Started With Your Own Black and White Palettes!
The text on this wallpaper would be fine on its own, but paired with the rich, dark red shadow becomes something powerful. It pushes itself off of the page and screams ‘don’t give up’. The blush color in the background helps bring the dark red down a bit, and acts as a soothing transition.
50. Play With Type’s Size To Create Balance Design by Keith Burnson
19. Play With Light And Shadows To Create Visual Interest Unknown
This wallpaper is very inspiring and helpful when all of the day’s troubles seem to overwhelm you. The beautiful sunset/rise paired with the calming waters helps to reduce your stresses, and the motivational message inspires you. The handwritten type makes it feel as though you wrote the message to yourself, giving yourself a push of encouragement. The subtle line of type underneath adds more meaning, and the simplicity of the text works well with the horizontal line of landscape. To create a wallpaper like this, find a beautiful photograph with clear directional movement. Simply apply your text to the photograph in a way that follows the movement.
This wallpaper is reminiscent of classic ‘help wanted’ and ‘we’re open’ signs businesses used in the past. The bright red/orange pops against the black, and there is a wonderful dimension within each letter achieved by various shades and tints of red. Something similar can be achieved by pairing bold red or orange text against a dark background, and choosing a font with a retro feel.
34. Mix and Match Geometric Shapes Shutterfly via The Tomkat Studio
Want to build a clean, sophisticated website? Consider going back to basics and experimenting with a monochromatic design just as Adam Widmanski has done in this example. By limiting your interface and image color scheme to black and white and pairing it with a minimal, well-aligned layout, you can create a more clean, cohesive and united design.
This wallpaper depicts a man burning the midnight oil and toiling away at his computer, while his dog anxiously awaits his owner’s end of the night. The simple shapes and coloring of the illustration make it clean and structured, but still with an air of playfulness. The light emanating from the desk lamp warms up the central area of the image, and reveals a nice texture.
This funny wallpaper takes a lighthearted approach on something most of us struggle with daily – eating healthy and skipping delicious desserts. The typography is as playful as the messaging, and the use of the three different typefaces adds in whimsy. The colors are light and warm, just like a slice of fresh apple pie. To create a wallpaper in a similar manner to this one, simply find a quote, choose a warm, inviting color scheme, and apply some fun typefaces to each line of text.
Hopefully this article and the examples we’ve included inspire you to create your own desktop wallpaper from scratch, and, luckily for you, Canva now has a desktop wallpaper design type, so you can start creating right now.
This beautiful quote from Jimi Hendrix is paired with a haunting illustration of a dark, chilly city. The white text flows beautifully, as if it’s the snow in the storm in the illustration, and the texture within it ties the picture and type together. The careful intertwining of the ‘g’ and ‘d’ creates harmony between the two words, and shows that knowledge and wisdom must work together.
If you’re looking for a way to add a lot of cinematic drama to your design, check out this movie poster by Kate Marie Koyama Design. By pairing monochromatic photographs, bold, stacked sans serif type, and pronounced stripe cut outs, this design channels the dark tones and venetian blind shadows of film noir to create a mysterious, engrossing design.
Contrasting organic textures with sharper graphics is a great way to keep your design modern and sharp, just as this design by Sara Westermann is kept. By creating a frame for the focal image from a mix of a handpainted texture and a sharp, angular graphic, this design has the personal, organic feel of a painted texture, but the modern and sleek appearance of a sharp graphic.
This wallpaper is based on Fontshop’s “Typeface Anatomy and Glossary.” It shows the different parts and pieces that make up fonts and typography. It serves to educate the user on what each part is and where it resides. It’s great for those who are a bit more technical with their designs, and can be implemented for a variety of subject matters. The aim is to not overwhelm the design with a bunch of unnecessary elements, and keep it purely functional and informative. If you’d like to make a similar wallpaper, get educated about your topic and display it in a simple and concise way.
When paired with a black and white palette, geometric patterns can be really striking, as you can see in this design by Demian Conrad. A really cool thing about this piece is how it explores the makeup of various patterns, and how by overlapping some of them, new patterns are formed. Have a play with layering and mixing up your pattern designs and see what you can come up with!
The repetitive pattern of the paperclips in this wallpaper is strangely intriguing. The pattern is easy on the eye, and is pleasant to look at. When paired with the small and subtle type, the photograph takes on meaning. You can start anywhere, just make sure you start – even if the idea is as simple as a paperclip. To bring this idea to life, snap a photograph of anything you can find inspiration in and find a quote that suits it.
Want your design to really pack a punch? Scale it up! This editorial spread design by Purpose does just that by scaling up its typographical elements to create bold and daring spread designs. Plus, by scaling up (mostly) sans serif typefaces, this piece creates new shapes for other elements to align against, making this bold black and white layout very neat and organized too.
37. Turn Something Into Something Else Design by Jude Landry
This beautiful branding kit by Demian Conrad uses a stunning black and white palette to give an organic marbling concept a sharp and professional execution. By creating organic, flowing, marble-like shapes and executing them in a sharp monochrome, this design remains sharp and professional, but with an organic, softer touch, creating an all-round memorable visual for the brand.
Creative inspiration is a fickle thing. One minute you have it, the next you don’t.
This design by Jean-Michel Verbeeck is very simple, right from the color palette down to the composition which only consists of title type, body copy, an image and a frame. The simple addition of the frame to this design not only draws attention into the content, but highlights the stark difference between the main two tones.
30. Use Real Life Instances To Inspire You Quote from Pablo Picasso. Design by Daniel Patrick Simmons
03. Find Simplicity In A Simple Background Design by Christian Robinson
As the designers note, “Traditional russian way of packaging is newspaper. So why not to follow traditions? We have collected in our newspaper some funny stories, statements and anecdotes for reading with a glass of beer”.
02. Set Your Type Apart With Colored Accents Design by Siyana Ivanova
Why settle for just one geometric pattern when you can mix, match, and combine a few of them to create a striking effect. This poster design by Project 5 does just that by mish-mashing a handful of sharp black and white geometric patterns within a bold graphic. Monochromatic color schemes lend themselves to a lot of flexibility, so have a go at making the most of that flexibility by mixing and matching your elements.
Lines are incredibly versatile graphic elements, and when paired with a stark black and white palette, there’s no stopping them from being really striking. This design by Demian Conrad makes the most of this device by using a mix of straight and curvy lines to frame and draw attention toward the title type.
29. Use Simple Shapes And Colors To Convey A Message Design by Christopher David Ryan
They say black will never go out of style, so your secret weapon when it comes to creating a timeless and stylish design is to go monochromatic. This website design by Creative Riot does just that by using a light monochromatic palette, clean images, wide margins, and super simple type to stay fresh and very stylish.
Black and white palettes really lend themselves to minimalism, so why not experiment with that? This design by Márton Jancsó channels minimalism by using one photographic/typographic focal point, very little and very simply set type, and a whole lot of white space. Use minimalism to help you redirect focus to your design’s most important focal point.
This wallpaper uses different shapes of varying line weights to create a geometrically patterned composition. The interesting dynamic of all of the shapes paired with the phrase ‘be creative’ really helps to drive it home. It creates balance with the calming photograph, and makes it feel relaxing, laid back, and somewhat tribal.
The entirety of this wallpaper is very abstract and random. There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason for the placement or shape of the objects, yet it creates one consistent piece that gives off a fun, carefree vibe. The different shades of blue, green, and red/pink are sprinkled throughout, which ties everything together. The subtle blue texture in the background helps to give weight to the shapes, and brings them down to earth. To create an image like this, let all of your creativity flow. Choose a few colors, make a few shapes, and play around with arranging them on the page in a carefree, random manner.
The designer of this wallpaper explained this image as ‘a reminder that sometimes we do need to disconnect every now and then,’ meaning that we shouldn’t let technology remove us from our traditional roots. The display of all of the tech gadgets carefully lined up and arranged provides a nice contrast with the simple open book. Without words, we understand what the message is, and it truly makes a statement without needing to be overly detailed.
The amount of bright color and sass in this wallpaper is up front and in your face. The bright yellow goes surprisingly well with the deep, rich burgundy, and the subtle splatter of burgundy texture in the background ties the two together. Without the thin white accents on some of the letters, the text wouldn’t pop as much. The message really is getting ‘pushed’ out at you, and inspires you to push yourself every time you see it.
Quick note: If you’re using busy monochromatic lines like this example, be sure to balance it out with blocks of white or black (again, as this example does) to prevent the design from becoming overwhelming.
Make a lasting first impression on your target audience with a compelling alternative poster [with Free Templates]
41. Don’t Forget the White (or Black) Space Philippe Apeloig
If you’ve designed your own desktop wallpaper that you would like to share, please link to it in the comments’ section, below.
The beautifully intertwined typography in this wallpaper is something special. The highly detailed letters create little banners for the smaller, simpler words to fall into. They help to ground the intricately illustrated text, and the rich golden yellows balance the deep dependability of the blue.
Have you ever encountered a black and white design that captured your attention? Or do you have some tips up your sleeve about mastering the monochrome? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
This wallpaper pairs a lovely image of ocean waves with the concise message to stay steady. Perhaps you’re surfing on the waves of life, or setting sail on a new adventure. Either way, the image gives off a sense of meditation and motivation. The gritty text matches the texture in the background, and the size difference between words creates a balance that might otherwise be lost. If steady were as big as stay, the text would be too overpowering, and the calming of the ocean waters would be decreased. To create a wallpaper with staggered text, choose your favorite font. Decide what word(s) you’d like to draw attention to, and then shrink and enlarge the words until they fit together in a harmonious way.
We’ve had a look at a few examples of how effective black and white lines can be, and this example by Mário Rodrigues is no exception. In this case, the use of bold stripes acts as a focal point of the design as it perfectly complements the bold, line-based logo, making it a natural choice for this branding kit.