Tips for using bright colors in interface design (UI Design)


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Outstanding color gamut and gradient techniques are being used more and more in digital product interfaces: from entertaining games to corporate websites and apps.

However, there is still a lot of controversy surrounding the use of bright colors and their effect on user experience. The following article will give you specific information about the pros and cons of a “brilliant” UI.

Benefits of using bright colors for the UI

1. Increase readability and legibility

When choosing colors, designers always consider two basic factors: readability and legibility. Readability is the readability of copied content, while legibility is the legibility of each letter in a typeface.

The striking colors create a contrast that increases readability and legibility. Thanks to the contrast, the elements in the composition stand out and catch the eye. However, excessive color contrast isn’t always that good. If the copy content and background color have too high contrast, it will be difficult to read the text. So designers always recommend to keep contrast in moderation and use high contrast only when it is necessary to highlight certain elements.

2. Optimize navigation and increase natural engagement

The hierarchy of visual elements should always be considered in order for a digital product to have clear navigation and natural interaction. Interface components should have a specific arrangement so the brain can distinguish them through physical factors such as color.

Color also has a gradation and this gradation is determined by the degree to which each color affects our mind. There are strong colors like red, orange and light colors like white or cream. Bright colors are very eye-catching, so they are often used to emphasize or assign contrast. Using a single color for many different ingredients also shows the relevance between them. For example, you can get the red for the purchase button so that the user can find them easily.

3. Make a strong impression

The human brain has always been drawn to vibrant colors, so using these colors will help your designs stand out and be memorable. Colorful interface is always more attractive than pale products. But after all, the decision to use color should be based on customer tastes and market research.

If a company already has a bright color in its logo and product branding, it makes sense to use that color in its apps and websites. In this way, your design creates visual consistency across all media channels and increases brand awareness.

4. Create the right atmosphere

To create the right ambience and message that elicits certain actions from the user, designers need to know that color can affect their mood and behavior. Our brains are always reacting to colors without our knowledge. Color psychology believes that, when the eyes see color, the brain sends signals to release hormones that change emotions.

The properly selected colors put the user in the right state to help them take the right action as well as deliver them the correct message. For example, if a designer needs to create an interface for a product related to nature or gardening, there’s a great chance you’ll see green and blue. In this way, with just one look, we can relate to the product from the design. You can read more about the meaning of color in the article “Color in Design: Effects on the User”.

5. Eye-catching and trendy appearance

Interface design trends are very fond of bright colors and gradients. You can see products like that everywhere, and the limitations of business style are gone.

The bright colors in the interface can create a modern and fresh feel. Going with the times always helps the design stand out in a competitive environment.

Common mistakes when using bright colors for UI

1. Bright colors are difficult to balance

A big mistake in design thinking is relying on the sense and taste to match colors. To create products that are visually harmonious, knowledge of how colors work and combine is essential.

More bright colors in an interface mean more risk of imbalance. In order for the user to feel at ease, designers always try to bring balance in their designs. Color harmony also means that colors are always used in the most eye-catching and sensible way by the user to create the best impression whether on the website or in the app. Color theory has summarized a few basic but effective color schemes that we can refer to:

  • Monochromatic color schemes: use a color of different shades to create harmony.
  • Similar colors: using colors next to each other on a pure ring to complement each other.
  • Contrast color scheme: Combine colors facing each other on a solid color ring to enhance contrast.
  • Contrast color scheme: This color combination is the same as before, but instead of using two colors opposite each other, we use one color and two colors next to the color opposite it on the solid color wheel.
  • Tri-contrast color scheme: uses three equally spaced colors on a pure color ring. The designers still use one color as the main color, the other two colors as accents.
  • Quadruple contrast color scheme: uses four colors in which there are two contrasting color pairs. If you join these four colors, it will form a rectangle.

2. Lose the highlight

Vibrant colors can create a necessary accent in the interface, but also so that if you abuse, you will hardly be able to highlight any components.

That’s why we have a 60% – 30% – 10% formula. The largest part is for the main color, one third is for the secondary color and the other 10% is the color that will make the accent. This formula is pleasing to the eye because it gives us a break to feel each of the visual elements.

3. Not all user groups like bright colors

User research is an integral part of creating digital products. Identifying and analyzing potential users will help us to better understand their wishes when using the app or website. Age, gender, and culture can all influence a user’s trends. For example, children love yellow a lot, but when they get older, it doesn’t look so appealing. Both men and women seem to like cool colors like blues, greens and their hues. However, monochromatic colors such as white, black, and gray are preferred by men.

We must have a clear understanding of the target market before choosing to use vibrant colors. Even for entertainment applications there are distinct cases, such as middle-aged people who always prefer a light interface and will not like a brilliant interface because they think they distract them.

4. Vivid colors may create excessive contrast on the mobile screen

We already know that bright colors help create contrast, emphasize essential elements of the interface, and increase both legibility and readability. However, the contrast can become too high on mobile devices because they have a fairly small screen space and are used in a variety of situations. Small screen, ambient light and bright fonts will make your design uncomfortable to the user’s eyes. That’s why designers should pay attention to each level of contrast between colors so that users feel comfortable using your app for hours.

Color is a powerful tool, but every tool has its advantages and disadvantages. So designers should always think multidimensional to come up with the right solutions to achieve the goals in their design.


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