Duotone Effect & Free Mood Boards: Iceland Horses

For today’s graphic design experimentation we are following on the Original Icelandic Horses Mood Board created in the previous post and we going to look at Duotone Effects. I will provide a Mood Board for the duotone image at the end of the post. All images in this post are free to use for your design projects!

Iceland Horses, winter
Iceland Horses – Original Image

For a more in-depth look at mood boards, please see Free Mood Board: Dahlia Pink & Yellow Graphic Design Resources. Other Free Mood Boards include: Cacti Spirals, Mandala Dragonfly, Sunset Dreamcatcher, Flower Data Art, Horses, Big Cats and Vibrant Fish.

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Duotone Effect Process

Duotone effects create a two-tone colour gradient on top of the original image for a more modern graphic design look.

I do not have Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, instead I have opted to learn in GIMP for the time being and I am a bit familiar with the program already. As such I first had to find a step-by-step instruction for creating Duotone effects in GIMP. I used “A DuoTone process using GIMP by Daniel Berrangé” for the beginning of the creation processes and then I went off on my own tangent… 😉

Below is a quick summary of the process. P.S. there is an easier way to do this in GIMP, but I feel that this process gives a more “refined” look…

Step 1: Gradient Map & Grayscale

The first step in the processes is to create a grayscale map of the colours to guide GIMP in placing colours along the gradient from light to dark.

Iceland Horses Step 1 Gradient Map Grayscale
Grayscale Gradient Map

Step 2: Colour Layers and Fill

The second step is to create the different colour layers and to fill each. The shadow layer is a darker colour and the highlights a lighter one – note that complementary colours work best here (blue & yellow, purple & orange or green & red).

Iceland Horses Step 2 Fill Colors Purple Orange
Fill Colours – Purple and Orange

Step 3: Colour Blending

The third step is to blend the colours for a more seamless and gradient effect. However, the colours here are a bit warm here and it seems as though these are Desert Horses rather than Icelandic ones. I decided to opt for cooler colours; a darker purple and light blue perhaps?

Iceland Horses Step 3 Fill Colors Layer Mode Warm Orange Purple
Colour Blending – Purple and Orange

Much better, eh?

Iceland Horses Step 4 Fill Colors Layer Mode Cool Purple Blue
Colour Blending – Purple and Blue

Step 4: Blending Modes

From here on I was just playing around with the way GIMP renders the blending between the layers, either ‘all-over/even’ such as the previous picture, or with a sharp change in the layers with distinct lines, circles or spirals!

Iceland Horses Step 5a Fill Colors Layer Mode Cool Linear Blend Purple Blue
Blending Mode Linear (Line)
Step 5b Fill Colors Layer Mode Cool Radial Blend Purple Blue
Blending Mode Radial (Circle)
Step 5c Fill Colors Layer Mode Cool Clockwise Spiral Blend Purple Blue
Blending Mode Spiral

I like the spiral blend as it adds to the wind blowing effect in the photo. This concludes our experimentation for now and I leave you with the colour palette of the Duotone Icelandic Horses!

Final Touches: Typography

I added a bit of typography to the final image using Canva just to tie up everything nicely! Viola! It’ll make a pretty desktop background, don’t you think?

Wild, Free, Icelandic Horses, Poster, Graphic Design, Duotone Effect, Tupography, Inspiration, Blue, Purple
Icelandic Horses Duotone Online Version

Duotone Mood Board

Mood boards are color palettes generated from images for design inspiration and coordinated themes.

Both Canva and Adobe have free online colour palette generators, which can extract colours from images. I prefer to use the Adobe tool to select the initial palette and then customise it from there.

My fifth mood board is created from the duotone photograph of charismatic Icelandic Horses captured by susnics available for free download from Pixabay.

Several mood board design resources are freely available from Mind Frame Shift for your design projects! You can find the Pinterest Board Here!


CC-BY-NC 3.0 – Colour palette images are free to use for personal and non-commercial projects given attribution to Dr Tanzelle Oberholster

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