Using color to identify content, or types of action, or both?
3 Nov 2007 - 1:56pm
5 years ago
I'm working on a web app that has a brand color palette with 6 bright, bold
- very dark blue/black
- baby blue
- lime green.
The app needs to have a young, vibrant feel to it and I've been thinking
about how to best use these colors.
One way is to use the colors to color-code types of action. Right now I have
the magenta to indicate 'action'. Green can mean 'save' or 'confirm' and
yellow or orange can be used for error messages.
But I'm also drawn to the idea of using the colors to identify types of
content within the app. So, for instance, user contributed opinions might be
orange; neutral, informational stuff might be light blue; stuff pulled from
other external sites might be yellow. That kind of thing.
I'm wondering if people have any experience or advice about how to approach
setting up design patterns using color. What are the good ways to manage the
potential conflicts between 'function color coding' and 'content color
coding'? Are there any good resources out there on this?
Another conflicting need, of course, is the need to make the page look nice
and balanced, and reflect the brand. Sticking to a strict functional color
scheme can make this difficult I think, because, for instance, many pages
may end up with very few of the colors and lack balance.
My usual approach is to use a much more conservative palette for most of the
screen real-estate (maybe light, de-saturated blues/greys) and use colors
sparingly. Then it becomes a little easier. But the bright, bold nature of
this brand means I'm being asked to have areas of solid, bright color on the
page, which seems tricky to me.
P.S. The IXDA beta website is definitely coming along - looks promising. One
usability gotcha right now is that, although you can reply to discussion
threads via the website, there doesn't appear to be any mechanism for
starting a new thread. Or at least I couldn't find it...