Color harmony in app design – Part II

In app design, color may be even more important because the ‘screen real estate’ is so small. You have to say a lot in a small space and one of the ways you can speak to your app user is through color, so why not give it importance and choose your colors thoughtfully. At very least, you should make sure that the colors you choose do not conflict with what you are trying to say with your app.

An even greater challenge in app design is the fact that the app attention span is faster than a nanosecond. This means that any visual message, if there is one, should be stamped on your app user’s eye immediately. In your app icon and every screen of the app, the colors you choose will either work with you, or against you – and the response will be immediate.

As well as intuitive responses, we have visual associations with color. Some of these mental links are universal: red is for love and anger, green is for nature and money, yellow is for sunshine and joy and blue is for calm and spirituality.

So what is the meaning of color? The basic colors each have associations and when the basics vary in intensity, they too have subtle associations that can be different from the pure color.

The Vibrants: Red – Yellow – Orange


Red is a very rich and emotionally intense color. It is the color of fire and blood, of danger and passion. It can be warm, vibrant, adventurous and optimistic.Red is the hottest color in the spectrum, and the one most closely associated with life.

Pink represents romance, love, passion and sensuality. It is fresh and flirtatious and the most feminine color. It denotes feminine qualities and can be very girlish unless paired with a neutral or dark color.

Yellow is vibrant and energetic and is one of the least calm colors. It is happy, spring-like and visually accessible for children. It’s associated with joy, happiness, warmth, and energy. Dull yellow can be associated with sickness and decay. Gold brings feelings of prestige, wealth and quality.

Orange is a color that is spicy and hot or unnerving and bold. It represents energy and is the ancient symbol of strength. It is only slightly less aggressive and vibrant than red and represents domination, aggression, and action. Orange is highly visible and will catch attention, which makes it a good color to highlight the most important elements of your design. It is also very effective for promoting food products and toys. Reddish-brown is associated with harvest and fall.

The Peaceful: Blue – Green – Purple


Blue can be cold or serene, spiritual or businesslike. It is one of the most soothing, calming and fresh colors. Because it represents such a broad range of emotions, it is the most versatile and ‘safest’ color to use and actually is associated with stability, which is why it is often used in business. Blue is also often associated with cleanliness, intellect, and expertise.

Green is universally considered the color of nature. It immediately brings the image of growth, well-being and newness. It is also the color of fertility and safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money and suggests growth, hope and safety.

Purple is the most regal and elegant color and connotes magic, creativity, and luxury. It is also the most sensuous color. Light purples are feminine and calm. It is as stable as blue and as energetic as red. It symbolizes power and nobility, and conveys wealth and extravagance. Oddly, bright purple is also a very attractive color to children.

The Neutrals: Grey – Brown – Black – White


Grey, light or dark, is sophisticated, calm and neutral. It is the color of technology and makes a business-like, no-nonsense statement. Metallic grey is cool, modern and sleek. It generally works well in a two-toned image.

Brown is a very practical, earthy color and can be dull if not used carefully. Like grey, brown is a neutral that shows stability and security. Brown suggests masculine qualities. It is a good accent color that does not give the same sharpness that black does.

Black shows drama, death and fear very well. It is a non-color that can be either sleek and sophisticated or morbid and somber. Black is associated with power and authority and is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious. In contrast, it also symbolises evil, and mystery. Black is a terrific accent color and black backgrounds contrast well with other colors and makes then come alive.

White is cool and classic, and can either be clean and simple or blank and forgettable. It is universally associated with light, innocence and purity, and is also considered to be the color of spirituality, cleanliness, simplicity and safety. White can also be a washout, confusing and can indicate lack of originality, thus, all white images should be avoided.


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