The Power of Color in UX and UI Design

By Orana Velarde 2 months ago

UX and UI design is all about creating websites and apps which are enjoyable and easy to use. Of all the building blocks which make up UX and UI design, color is one of the most important.

Color psychology has a strong impact on user choices and reactions. The way colors are combined together can create a mood and or trigger an emotion. Tapping into this knowledge helps UX and UI designers create better products and experiences.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which the power of color takes precedence in UX and UI design.

Branding and Design Systems

The biggest and most important role of color in UX and UI design comes straight from the company’s branding scheme. Designers use the brand guidelines as a reference and apply the colors to the web or app design. 

The branding colors are the basis of a brand’s visual story. The combination chosen by the branding strategist is important and needs to translate to all the designs created for a company.

UX and UI designers use design systems to stay on brand. A design system is an accessible platform where the colors are specified according to how they should be used. All button, lines, backgrounds, and shapes are displayed with their respective color use. 

Now let’s take a look at how colors are chosen for UX and UI design

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Color Creates Contrast

Colors are combined to create contrast with each other. Contrast is a design tool which creates a separation between one element and another. For example, a light-colored background with a bright vibrant button makes for good contrast. 

When there is contrast, users notice calls to action easier. Menus and buttons need contrast to be noticeable. This is achieved with color. 

Design systems usually also have specifications of what color to use in the background behind a button.

Colors Trigger Moods

When a branding strategist takes the time to create a color scheme, they take into account how colors trigger moods. For example, a soft pastel color scheme relays a feeling of calm and peace. On the other hand, stark black backgrounds with neon details give a sense of urgency and excitement.

The color of the buttons also triggers a response. That’s why there are so many red and orange buttons in call-to-action designs. People are used to seeing buttons of this color and so will react positively to them. When UX and UI designers choose to use other colors for buttons, they still need to be a color that triggers a positive emotion.

Colors and Accessibility

UX and UI designes always need to consider accessibility when putting together a web or app design. When it comes to colors, the most important thing to consider is color blindness. Designing for color blindness is all about using different colors together which stand out regardless of the actual color. 

For example, red and green together have no visual contrast for color-blind users. There needs to be a strong contrast between background and foreground. More specifically, buttons should have some kind of border or box-shadow to separate them from the background.

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Colors in Different Cultures

Another consideration for branding strategists and UX and UI designers is how colors are percieved differently in different cultures. Pink, for example, is used completely different in the United States than in Japan. In the US, pink is a girly color, especially soft pink. In Japan, pink is the color of cherry blossoms, a big part of Japanese culture. 

Another example is the color red. In some cultures, red is perceived as a passionate or dangerous color while in others, it’s the color of richness and royalty. 

Considering the culture while designing for UX and UI depends on who the product is directed at. It’s always important to know how the user will perceive color and how to tap into that.

Colors Don’t Always Need to Fit the Mold

Even though some color combinations are expected in UX and UI design, brands don’t always need to follow the pack. In fact, when the colors in a branding scheme are a little different than the rest, the brand will be more memorable.

A special and unique brand combination can make a great impression on the user. Using an out of the box color scheme is all well and good but it also needs to follow the rules of UX and UI. It needs to be easy to use, navigate and understand. It also needs to be accessible for any user.


As you can see, color is extremely important in UX and UI design. It must always be used to the advantage of the user while also staying on brand with the company’s brand guideline.

By Orana Velarde