Create a Better App by Finding the Right UI Color Scheme

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Every UI Design requires a bit of art and science. You need some artistic spirit in order to make it attractive and aesthetically pleasing, but at the same time, it is completely based on logical methods.

Unfortunately, the use of proper color and lighting in UI design is often underestimated. In fact, when these aspects of design are taken for granted, users lose focus. Users need to see a design and understand how to use the given elements in an effective manner.

This is why we prepared a set of tips that will enable you to choose a UI color scheme that best suits your design.

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Color Scheme Tips for App Design

Contrast Ensures Readability

Example UI Design with Good Contrast

Solid and contrasting color schemes are excellent for textual content and correlating backgrounds. Applying similar tones for both text and background can be detrimental, as it can affect the distinguishability of a design. The combination should be carefully executed, with a contrast value of at least 80%.

Contrast is not just important—it is decisive for readability. Your users must be able to read text easily and efficiently. The ability to scan and find important elements can be the biggest guarantee of success for your readers and your product.

Extreme contrast doesn’t negatively affect the eyes, while poor levels of contrast can cause difficulty for your audience. (Not to mention the time users would be losing!) Black text on a white background is the highest contrast value that can be applied; it’s classic, and we sincerely recommend it.

Use Light and Shadowing to Create Depth

UI design using light and shadowing

Believe it or not, light can be highly indicative for your users; by using diverse shades, you can add/remove importance from certain elements, and you can make images appear closer/further from the reader.

Another example of UI design with light and shadows

Take buttons as an example—designers often choose to make “pushed” buttons appear darker. Why?

Well, it is quite simple—buttons are perceived as 3D objects. which move away when we press them. On the other hand, they appear “opened” when they are not used. All of this happens because of proper light distribution.

In fact, that’s how things work—UI metaphors are built with 3D objects and depth adjustment. When choosing colors for user interfaces, make sure you use lighter ones for important objects, and darker ones for the ones that are “carved inward.” This method is a general principle of OS interfaces, especially when replicating a real-world object (buttons, switches, etc).

Using Colors in UI design that Evoke Emotions

As most designers know, colors and emotions are related. In fact, the psychological effect of different tones on the human mood has been well-known since the Middle Ages.

Great designers make use of this information, and they try to choose colors for user interfaces to create a positive atmosphere.

Let’s Check Out the Impact of Different Colors:

Red is powerful, meaningful, and positive.

Red in UI Design

If we are seeking a passionate, stimulating color, the obvious choice is red. Often used to make warnings and notices, red is an energizing tone that symbolizes blood circulation, power, importance, passion, and other feelings of positivity.

Orange is friendly, energizing, and unique.

Orange in UI Design

Across the warm palette, orange is the most versatile. This secondary tone engages and energizes users, while slightly paler shades represent elements in a less obstructive way. Orange is also applied to symbolize movement and strength.

Yellow is happy, enthusiastic, or antique.

Yellow in UI Design

Yellow has a number of meanings, depending on which tone you are using. The brighter it is, the more energetic it becomes.

The middle shades inspire feelings of comfort and calmness, while darker versions stand for antiquity, timelessness, and wisdom. Remember, the way in which people perceive color strongly depends on their culture and traditions.

Green is natural, stable, and inspirational

Green in UI Design

Green stands somewhere between dark and light, but it tends to find its place in the cool palette.

This means green can be calm and relaxing, but it can have the same energizing effect of red and yellow. This is exactly why green is the “balancing tool” of designers. Additionally, it’s also worth mentioning that green is often associated with financial/affluent topics.

Blue is calm, safe, open and reliable.

Blue in UI Design

The universal meaning of blue is safety and relaxation, but lighter tones tend to be friendlier than darker ones. Once again, it all depends on the shade you’re applying.

This is quite obvious with social networks, which use calm colors to appear welcoming. Corporate sites or apps often apply darker shades to appear strong and reliable.

Black is powerful, edging, and sophisticated

Black in UI Design

As the absorption of all color, black is certainly the strongest natural color, which is exactly why it appears on almost every app. Black can either dominate the environment, or be applied to support other colors.

Black is the primary choice for sophisticated content, and it is usually applied on textual content or logos.

Many apps use black in support of their brands, because black also stands for timelessness, sophistication, and elegance.

White is pure, virtuous, and simple.

White in UI Design

In Western cultures, white is seen as clean, innocent, and pure. Many designers use it as the main tool for a minimalist approach. White works seamlessly for backgrounds, as white draws virtually no attention and leaves space for other colors and elements.

The Identifying and Grouping Power of Colors

UI design with colorful bars

Colors are extremely helpful in a number of ways: object identification, communication structures, status indication, or proper guidance of customers. You can employ different color combinations for the following tasks:

Distinguish between the app screens

UI design with distinct screen stages

Perhaps you want to design an app with different pages and screens. Why not apply different color schemes to help users distinguish between them?

By using this method to organize your space, you will help users avoid mistakes and confusion.

Dividing and controlling information on different screens

You can use various color schemes for group controls or informative items. Obviously, you can also do this with space, bordering, or other visual tools, but color is more recommended because it will not consume any of your screen real estate.

Distinguishing between icons

Example of bell icon

Color is essential to help you distinguish between different icons on a single toolbar.

Once again, it is a procedure that can be achieved with other visual tools (size, shape, etc), but color is a preferable choice, because it reduces the mental burden required for icon identification.

Heat and Focus – A Winning Combination

Example of selected elements in UI design

Be mindful of how you combine colors. The cool/warm division was not made in vaineach shade exhibits different behavior when applied in a particular mix. For instance, warm colors tend to expand when used alongside cooler tones, making them dominate an image.

While this may sound complicated, it is in fact very simple. Warm colors are brighter, and they should be applied to elements that require attention. Red is especially powerful as a “warning/important notice” sign, and therefore should be used for such.

Colors inform our designs and how we understand the designs of others. They tell us how to feel, how to interact, and how to organize the extreme amounts of information we receive daily. Keep these tips in mind the next time you are designing a project, and you may find colors to be an extremely helpful element in your creation.

READ NEXT: Ultimate Guide to Color Theory

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