50 Shades of Grey: 50 Website Designs That Forgo the Splashy Colors

50 Shades of Web Design

Never has grey been so colorful.

After 40 million copies of the book "50 Shades of Grey” sold worldwide, it seems we still can’t get enough grey matter in our lives.

While the E. L. James book, based on a fictional character with "fifty" mood swings and a serious bondage habit, has been translated  into over 30 languages, Web design is something that never needs to be translated -  it is a universally spoken language of its own.

Of course, when it comes to custom website design most think that in order to "make it pop" you need multiple gradients and a variety of color. However,  sometimes with fewer colors and just a few shades of grey you can increase your visual hierarchy and balance in your layout.

In honor of the "Fifty Shades of Grey"  trilogy I have found 50 websites from various countries that utilize black, white and grey (with maybe a splash of an accent color or two).

The common design elements in these websites are the use of bold typography that guides users though the website, large black and white images, drawings that utilize the negative space of the page, or to frame the content area in a visually pleasing manner.

Below are fifty excellent design examples that prove you don't need a lot of flashy colors to create an alluring design.

1. Kirschner Brasil

2. Black Estate

3. Roland Olbeter

4. Urban Edge Design

5. 80/20

6. Christopher Meeks

7. Undercover

8. The Old State

9. The Noun Project

10. Marcin Kaniewski

11. Blissfully Aware

12. Information Architects

13. R/GA

14. Leg Work Studio

15. Hydna

16. postmachina

17. Sold-Out

18. The Grid System

19. Marc Ecko

20. Daryl Campbell

21. Manuelle Gautrand Architect


23. Antidote

24. Rule of Three

25. Open121

26. Nouvelle Vague

27. Routalempi on

28. Nordkapp

29. Process Type Foundry

30. Afrobeat

31. Design By New Concept

32. Multitouch Barcelonal

33. Discourse Pro

34. The Sum

35. Zero Fee

36. Peter Riedel

37. The Letter D

38.  Design Made in Germany

39. Perky Bros

40. Square Space

41. CanvasDropr

42. Tokyu Agency

43. Ego

44. SWE Film

45. Redirect Digital

46. Mirage Energy Drink

47. Joint London

48. Colorz

49. Kryptis

50. Never Bland

There ya have it! My top 50 websites that utilize many gradients of grey. Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know down below or at @daburkho.


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  1. Awesome and very inspiring collection! Like it :)
    Grey is my favorite color, so all this designs make me happy!

  2. Brett Lewis said:

    Great post! Keeping sites confined to simple colors all within the same color family can be very effective and cool. I love all the sample sites. Very cool, very inspiring. Awesome!

  3. Jill Tooley said:

    Cool blog idea, Debbie! I don’t like gray (or grey, if you prefer) text for large chunks of content because it’s hard on my eyes, but I don’t mind when it’s used for headers and such. Of the examples here, I like #7 the best because the image is the focal point. And let’s face it, we’re all about pictures these days! :)

  4. These are always my favorite types of posts: lot’s of eye candy with a purpose. I love the concept of clean minimalistic design that allows for any saturated elements to really stand out without clashing against other colors. Sadly, most of my clients are opposed to greys : Anyways, great post!

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