Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Logic + Emotion of Color

Using color to accomplish different things ...

"Roger von Oech and I have been having an interesting series of discussions around his Ball of Whacks. I've been watching my 6-year-old play with it for a while now, and each time I look at it—I cant help but wonder how the product would be affected if it came in an array of colors in addition to Red.

Color is one of those fascinating things that's hard to put a finger on. Sometimes people react to color in totally emotional if not irrational ways expressing preferences for colors that fit their personal tastes. Automobiles are a great example of this. You may love that Mini Cooper in Red, but hate it in Green. And someone else may have the opposite reaction. Color is also about mood:

Other times color is used to help convey information, hierarchy and data. Prime examples here would be charts, graphs, information graphics, displays, manuals etc. Here color becomes more about utility, clarity and context.

But color is powerful, no doubt about it. And like any power it can be harnessed, used for good or abused. I still shudder each time I walk into an office that mixes Teal and Magenta with a touch of faux brush patterns thrown in for good measure. Using color should be a deliberate exercise. When we pick colors we are essentially saying things about ourselves and/or attempting to connect with the sensibilities of our audience. When I first designed my personal site, I chose a color pallete that both suited my personality but I also deliberately chose colors that can be found in nature. People tend to respond well to colors rooted in nature because we are hard-wired to appreciate the design of nature."    (Continued via Logic+Emotion)    [Usability Resources]

Ball of Whacks - Usability, User Interface Design

Ball of Whacks

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