Sparkstone -Multichannel retail software

EPoS, E-commerce, Mobile, Websites, Graphic Design

Is Black and Pink the new Grey and Grey?

A big part of any designer’s job is keeping up-to-date with the latest website launches, scripting techniques (HTML5, CSS3, etc) and Browser enhancements. But the most interesting past time for any visually focussed professional is simply surfing the web and making a note of what we like and what we don’t like, what works and what doesn’t work.

In today’s latest hour of e-commerce surfing, I’ve noticed a striking similarity developing between many of the big names retailers, operating at all ends of the cost spectrum.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised in recent months to find that supermarket chains Tesco, Asda and Sainsburys have all consciously decided to make a stylistic gap between their main food branding and their growing clothing brands. But if you take a look at their websites today they all seem to be falling in line to a regimented uniform of black + 1.

Tesco main website

Tesco main website with traditional Blue and Red colour scheme

The Black and White styling continues on to product pages and really showcases the products

Tesco’s Florence & Fred range gets it’s own Black and White website – Note the similarities to Harrods and others ‘high end’ retailers

But these everyday essentials retailers aren’t alone in their love of black, even the website of luxury department store Harrods has ditched it’s traditional gold and green logo in favour of a digital ‘little black dress’. It’s a bold move that looks great on first viewing, but if you’re an online customer who likes to shop around, you’ll soon be getting the impression that Harrods isn’t quite as exclusive as it used to be.
Harrods website ditches the company green and gold

Harrods website ditches the company green and gold

Obviously some retailers are rockin’ the black (hey check me out) much more successfully than others (what’s going on Debenhams?) and there may be good technical reasons to adopt this new black uniform, such as better contrast and readability on mobile. But if this trend continues how will consumers differentiate between the brands at a glance?  particularly if they all release mobile apps that have similar black and white square icons.

similar websites also include:

Beales department stores

Beales department stores

Beales department stores

Beales department stores

House of Fraser online shopping website

House of Fraser online shopping website

*Tell us your favourite B&W websites, and let us know which ones you think could do with a new direction.

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